AMNET Meeting and AGM Saturday 1st July 2018

AMNET held its 22nd AGM on June 30th 2018 in the David Dunn suite at Addenbrooke’s Hospital Cambridge. Unfortunately our Chairman Heidi Pratchett was unwell so not able to attend so Alan Gosling (Treasurer) and Alison Frank (President) undertook a two hander. This is the first time we have used this suite and despite being a boiling hot day the very efficient air conditioning was almost too cold! Trustees and helpers were thanked and gave their reports and a plea was put out for more members to join them. Our excellent AMNET newsletter editor Sally Hardy has retired, our thanks to her for all her hard work so now we need a replacement.
A new venture for us this year has been mini meetings in members’ homes in different areas of East Anglia which have worked very well. 3 have happened so far with a maximum of 10 people, conversation has flowed, questions answered where possible and tea and cake have been enjoyed. Our thanks to our hosts Peter, Alan and Rachel.
When business was concluded our speaker Rachel Knappett was introduced. She last spoke to us in 2010 so was able to update us on changes in the Audiology Department and the Single Sided Deafness Clinic with which she is involved. Members had questions concerning how to get another assessment if first long ago, does the NHS set aside money for ENT problems, battery life improvement, CROS aid system, external pen mikes – useful up to 25 metres away, can you put rechargeable batteries in a NHS hearing aid (No), ear plugs designed for use by musicians – good because doesn’t distort but be careful not to overuse them as it makes the ear super sensitive, anticipated life span of a CROS aid – up to 5 years.
Rachel was thanked for talking to us and presented with an arrangement of flowers kindly made by Bronwyn, one of the Committee.
Members enjoyed cold drinks and refreshments including a non alcoholic punch prepared by the multi talented Bronwyn.
Our next meeting is on Saturday December 1st in the David Dunn suite at Addenbrooke’s Hospital starting at 12 with the speaker Rhys Slough MRI manager at Addenbrooke’s at 12.15 telling us about MRI scanners and how they work. BANA members are very welcome to attend. Refreshments are a bring and share lunch , drinks will be provided.

Driving, acoustic neuroma and the DVLA

We sometimes get asked about whether people need to inform the DVLA about an acoustic neuroma.

The following information, taken from the DVLA website suggests that when diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma, unless you have symptoms such as sudden and disabling dizziness, you do not need to inform the DVLA. The exception is if you hold a ‘Bus, coach or lorry’ licence, in which case you must inform the DVLA of a diagnosis of acoustic neuroma.

The advice given is below:

Car or motorcycle licence
You must tell DVLA if you suffer from sudden and disabling dizziness.
Talk to your doctor if you’re not sure if your acoustic neuroma causes other symptoms that will affect your driving, or if you must tell DVLA about them.
Fill in forms B1 and DIZ1 and send them to DVLA. The address is on the form.

Bus, coach or lorry licence
You must tell DVLA.
Fill in forms B1V and DIZ1V and send them to DVLA. The address is on the form.

AMNET meeting Saturday July 1st 2017

Our Summer AMNET Meeting fell on a beautiful day in July and we were very pleased to welcome Dr Sarah Jefferies, Clinical Oncologist, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, to come and talk to us.

Dr Jeffries talked about different aspects of radiotherapy in relation to treating skull base tumours. Radiotherapy is considered an appropriate option for treatment of vestibular schwannoma generally in tumours under 3 cm with no brainstem compression, and may take one of three forms:
• Single treatment or ‘radiosurgery’ using ‘Gamma Knife’ which up until now has been offered in Sheffield and London
• Radiotherapy over 30 treatments referred to as ‘fractionated radiotherapy’ which has been offered successfully at Addenbrooke’s hospital for a number of years
• Cyberknife which is radiotherapy given over 1-3 treatments which has been offered at St Bartholemew’s Hospital London.

Dr Jeffries informed us that a new machine, a ‘Novalis Linear Accelerator’ is being commissioned by the Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust’ for use in the Clinical Oncology Department at Addenbrooke’s Hospial and will enable radiotherapy treatment comparable to Gamma Knife and Cyberknife to be offered to patients at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, alongside the treatment options already available.

Dr Jeffries with Heidi Pratchett (Chair of AMNET)

The Annual General Meeting for AMNET was also held and minutes of the meeting are available in our current newsletter.

Tinnitus Awareness Week 6 – 12 February 2017
Tinnitus Awareness Week (TAW) is an annual event which is taking place from 6-12 February. Activity will be based around the campaign ‘Together for Tinnitus’ which is intended to generate discussion about tinnitus and raise awareness of the work being carried out and support provided by the British Tinnitus Association and other services across the UK.
Tinnitus Awareness Week 2017

AMNET meeting Saturday 26th November 2016

AMNET held their Christmas meeting on Saturday 26th November at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. Everyone contributed towards a buffet lunch which proved to be interesting and tasty. It was a good opportunity for members to meet and chat to each other
The main event of day was a talk by Mark Smith a specialist audiologist who works in the Single Sided Deafness Clinic at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. He talked about how the clinic was set up and that it serves a wide range of people with Single Sided Deafness, including people who have had skull base surgery. He told us about what happens in the clinic and also a lot about new hearing aids and other devices that can help to improve hearing. He also described some of the plans for the future of the clinic and took time to answer questions from the audience.
After the talk we enjoyed some more food and chat and the draw for the raffle in which there were lots of lovely prizes.

Our next meeting will be Saturday 1st July 2017.

The Addenbrooke’s Hospital Skull Base Website

The Addenbrooke’s Hospital Skull Base website is now up and running and can be found at The website contains information about the service and the teams and there is also a section of ‘Information for Patients’ including  a patient information leaflet and sources of support.

Image result for Addenbrooke's Hospital picture

(Source: Health Education England,


AMNET 20th Anniversary

TC 6Heidi 2

AMNET celebrated 20 years of supporting people who have been diagnosed with a skull base tumour. We held a day to celebrate this, on Saturday 11th June 2016 at the David Rayner Centre, Scotsdale’s Garden Centre, 120 Cambridge Road, Great Shelford, Cambridge,

Over 70 people turned up to the David Rayner Centre to join the celebration and there was plenty going on throughout the day. We would like to thank Cambridge Hearing Help and Action on Hearing Loss who were there with information, equipment and advice, Jane Robson who offered facial and hand massage, Becca Frank who was doing manicures, Chris Tate and his Tai Chi group,  Bronwyn Lummis for flower arranging, Andrew  Hastings with his model railway, Hugh Richards with his photographs and Helen Bush and Charlie Lummis for the music. There was also, of course, a good lunch including some very seasonal strawberries and cream!

Thank you to everyone who made Saturday such a fantastic day! To the Trustees who worked so hard before and on the day, and to  all those who contributed towards making the day such a success, not to mention all the members who turned up to help us celebrate 20 years of supporting  people diagnosed with skull base tumours such as acoustic neuroma (Vestibular Schwannomas).

I hope you enjoy the photos!

Lunch 1

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Tai Chi 2TC 4

Photos by Hugh Richards.