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Hearing aid users information booklet

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How does our hearing work?

Sound waves enter the ear and travel down to the ear drum. The sound waves make the ear drum vibrate, like a drum. This in turn makes three tiny connected bones (the ossicles-malleus, incus, stapes) in the space behind the ear drum vibrate. Beyond these three bones is the inner ear or cochlea, which consists of thousands of tiny hair cells like a rolled up piano keyboard. These cells sense the sound vibrations and convert them into nerve signals. The brain makes sense of these signals and this is how we hear.


    How does aiding help with hearing loss?

    Hearing loss is common – it affects 12 million people in the UK.

    There are 3 types of hearing loss:

    Conductive – Where sound is not passed properly from the ear drum to the inner ear (e.g. due to wax or middle ear congestion). S

    Sensorineural – Where the cause of the hearing loss is the inner ear e.g. the cochlea or hearing (auditory) nerve.

    Mixed – a combination of both conductive and sensorineural.

    Sensorineural hearing loss is the type of hearing loss many people experience with increasing age. It tends to occur gradually so people often don’t realise that their hearing is getting worse. High pitched sounds are more likely to be affected than low pitches. This type of hearing loss often reduces the quality of the sound as well as its loudness.

    If this is the reason for your hearing loss, the first signs you may notice are that people’s speech is muffled or they seem to mumble. You may also have difficulty hearing conversation when you are in a group. These difficulties can lead to frustration and tension for both you and your family and friends.

    A hearing aid can help. However, a hearing aid will not cure your hearing loss. It can only amplify the hearing you still have. It will not give you back the hearing you have lost.

    A hearing aid is not a ‘quick-fix’ solution – it takes time, practice and perseverance. You will not get the full benefit of a hearing aid if you do not use it regularly. The more you wear your hearing aid the more benefit you will get. Wear it even in situations where you do not think you need to - it is easier to start to practice in quiet environments. At first, your own voice may sound a bit different but you will soon get used to this.

    Remember that your brain has become used to not hearing many sounds and will take time to adjust to any new situations. It is normal to hear sounds you have forgotten. These sounds have always been there and with time you will re-learn to filter them out again.

    Sections 3, 4 and 5 of this booklet explain hearing aids, hearing aid maintenance, how to put your hearing in and how to find a fault with your hearing aid. This information can also be found in these videos:


      How do I maintain my hearing aids?

      Your hearing aid consists of two parts:


      The ear mould is the part that fits into your ear and can be made of different types of material, ranging from hard acrylic to soft silicon, or it can be a thin tube. The type of material that is chosen depends on various factors, including your hearing loss. Often, the greater the hearing loss, the fuller the ear mould.

      The hearing aid itself attaches to the mould by the tubing. The hearing aid could have a volume control and program button. Most hearing aids turn off by disconnecting the battery drawer See the manufacturer’s manual for more information on your specific hearing aid.

      Cleaning: You should clean your ear mould with a damp cloth or antibacterial wipe when you take it out at night. Check that the tubing is not blocked with wax or moisture. Please note, however, that getting the hearing aid very wet will permanently damage it.

      Retubing: Your ear mould needs to be retubed every six months. We will show you how to do this or it could be done in a repair appointment. If you have the ‘open fit’ style of hearing aid, then the tube also needs to be changed about every six months. Should the dome come off the tubing, you should never attempt to replace it – instead, use a new tube and dome as provided by us.

      Storing: After a day’s use, there can be some build-up of moisture in the hearing aid and tube. When not in use and at night, open the battery drawer and leave the hearing aid in a dry place to air out. Avoid extreme heat or cold.

        How do I put in my hearing aids?

        Mould fit

        It is important to insert the mould into your ear correctly to prevent feedback (whistling), soreness of the ear or loss of the hearing aid. The correct insertion is demonstrated in the pictures below.


        Hold the ear mould by the curved edge and place the tip of the mould into the ear canal.


        Twisting slightly, make sure that the top part of the ear mould is pushed under the crease at the top of your ear. This is the most common area to make a mistake.


        Use the other hand to pull down your earlobe. Push your ear mould firmly in.


        With the ear mould correctly positioned in your ear, place the hearing aid behind your ear.

        Open fit

        It is important to insert the tube correctly into the ear to stop the hearing aid from whistling or falling out. The correct insertion is demonstrated in the pictures below. Should the dome come off the tubing, you should never attempt to replace it – instead, use a new tube and dome as provided by us.


        This picture shows the different parts of your hearing aid. The dome goes down into your ear and the hearing aid sits behind.


        Place the Hearing aid behind the ear. Letting the tube and dome dangle in front of the ear.


        Push the dome in until the tube lies flat against your head. You may need to pull down on your ear lobe with the other hand to help.


        Tuck the retaining strip, if you have one, into the bowl of your ear to help keep the hearing aid in place.

          How do I retube my ear mould?

          1. Remove the old existing tubing with either your hand or pliers.


          2. Using replacement tubing (which you can obtain from your Audiologist), taper the edge of one side using a pair of scissors. Do not cut too close to the bend.


          3. Thread the tube into your earmould from the outside, through to the part that fits inside your ear.


          4. Next, pull the tubing through the earmould so that the remaining tubing is facing upwards at approximately a 50 degree angle.


          5. Using a sharp pair of scissors carefully cut the tapered tubing flush with the end.


            How do I find a fault with my hearing aid?


              How do I access repair services?

              Postal repair service

              If your hearing aid is faulty, you can post it to the Audiology Department. Include a letter with a description of the fault and your battery card. Your hearing aid will then be repaired and returned to you by post. We will return your aid as quickly as possible.

              Re-tubing services (drop in)

              If you need new or replacement tubing for an ear mould, please feel free to visit one of our drop-in re-tubing services (marked with * on the following pages). These are staffed by trained volunteers.

              Hearing aid repairs (by appointment)

              If you need a repair to your hearing aid or ear mould, please contact the Audiology Department to arrange an appointment. We will be able to offer a booked hearing aid repair appointment within two working days at Sussex House. You can also be seen at County Oak Medical Centre, Mile Oak Medical Centre, Orchard House at Lewes Victoria Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital, but you might have to wait longer for an appointment.

              Repair appointments are not for adjustments of hearing aids that are working well.

              For this you will need to ask for a follow up appointment.

                Where can I get batteries from?

                You can get new batteries from a clinic in your area. We also supply batteries and by post - just send your battery card to us.

                Age Concern (near Seven Dials)
                29-31 Prestonville Road, BN1 3TJ
                Telephone: 01273 720603

                County Oak Medical Centre
                Carden Hill, BN1 8DD
                Telephone: 01273 545922

                Moulsecoombe Clinic
                Hodshrove Lane, BN2 4SE
                Telephone: 01273 260010

                Sussex House
                Abbey Road, Brighton,
                BN2 1ES
                *Re-tubing service every
                Tuesday 10am – 12 noon


                Orchard House
                Lewes Victoria Hospital
                Neville Road, BN7 1PE
                Telephone: 01273 402508

                Hearing & Maintenance support
                group - House of Friendship,
                208 High Street.
                Lewes BN7 2NS
                Wednesdays 10.30 – 12 noon
                Telephone: 01273 476469
                (run by east sussex hearing
                resource centre - 01323 722505)


                Charter Medical Centre
                88 Davigdor Road, BN3 1RF
                Telephone: 01273 738070

                Knoll House
                Ingram Crescent West
                Portland Road, BN3 5NX
                Telephone: 01273 267588

                Batteries only

                Hove Poly Clinic
                Nevill Avenue, BN3 7HY
                Tel: 01273 696011

                Mile Oak Medical Centre
                Chalky Road, BN41 2WF
                Telephone: 01273 426200

                Burgess Hill
                Burgess Hill Clinic
                The Brow, RH15 9BS
                Telephone: 01444 248901


                Hassocks Health Centre
                Windmill Avenue, BN6 8LY
                Telephone: 01273 845771

                Haywards Heath

                Outpatients Department
                Princess Royal Hospital
                Lewes Road, RH16 4EX

                Haywards Heath Health Centre
                Heath Road, RH16 3BB
                Telephone: 01444 414100


                Quayside Medical Practice
                Chapel Street, BN9 9PW
                Telephone: 01273 615000

                Newhaven Polyclinic
                Church Hill, BN9 9HH
                Telephone: 01273 511800


                Children & Family Centre
                Meridian Way, BN10 8BN
                Telephone: 01273 612417

                  Who do I contact for assistive equipment in Sussex?

                  If you need help to hear the TV, phone, doorbell or smoke alarm, get in touch with your nearest centre.

                  Brighton and Hove

                  The Access Team, 3rd Floor, Barts House, Bartholomew’s Square, Brighton, BN1 1JE.

                  Social Care & Health Access Point Telephone: 01273 295555 Text: 01273 296388


                  East Sussex

                  For an assessment contact: The Sensory Team, St Mary’s House, 52 St Leonards Road, Eastbourne, BN21 3UU.

                  Telephone: 0345 60 80 191
                  Text: 07797 878111

                  Demonstration of equipment available from Social Services or for purchase from suppliers:

                  East Sussex Hearing Resource Centre 8 St Leonards Road, Eastbourne, BN21 3UH.

                  Tel/text/fax: 01323 722505 E-mail: Website:

                  West Sussex

                  For an assessment contact:

                  Sensory Services Team, County Hall North, Chartway, Horsham, RH12 1XA.

                  Telephone: 01243 642555 Text: 07736 093462 Fax: 01403 217671


                  Demonstration of equipment available from Social Services (assessments available) or for purchase from shop:

                  Action for Deafness Worthing

                  2-6 Buckingham Road, BN11 1TH.

                  Telephone: 01903 217341

                  Action for Deafness Haywards Heath

                  22 Sussex Road, RH16 4EA.

                  Telephone: 01444 415582 Text: 07800 005423 E-mail:

                  For support at work, you may be eligible to apply to the government scheme

                  Access to Work: For details of funding routes available and to check eligibility, regardless of which hearing aids you use, visit the website

                    How can I use the telephone with a hearing aid?

                    Using an ordinary phone with a hearing aid

                    • Place the telephone earpiece over or near the microphone area of the hearing aid.
                    • On the majority of hearing aids this is positioned at the front of the hearing aid itself.
                    • Do not put the phone over the ear as it has been ‘blocked’ with the ear mould.
                    • Adjust the volume control on the hearing aid if available but be beware that the hearing aid may ‘whistle’ or ‘feedback’ if the volume is too high.

                    Using an amplified phone with a hearing aid

                    • Press the ‘amplify’ button on the telephone (on some phones).
                    • Hold the phone over the hearing aid itself and move it until the best hearing position is found.
                    • Adjust the volume control on the telephone as required. This may be a sliding bar or it may be a + and – button.
                    • Some phones also have a tone control (Geemarc).

                    Using a speaker phone with a hearing aid

                    If you use the hands-free function of your phone you would have the benefit of hearing through both your hearing aids/ears.

                    Other useful tips

                    • Practise using a recorded message on the phone eg 1471 to make sure the phone is being held correctly.
                    • Phone a friend and practise with them!
                    • Build up your confidence before answering the phone.
                    • If you have difficulty understanding the caller, tell them how they can help you e.g.
                    • Slow down.
                    • Check they are holding the mouthpiece correctly.
                    • Confirm the information in writing.
                    • Consider subscribing to Caller Display or Privacy at Home (BT customers) which will show the number of the person who is calling you on a screen (you may need to have an extra piece of equipment).
                    • If you find nuisance or spam phone calls a problem, consider registering on the ‘Telephone Preference Service’ to prevent these callers contacting you. This is a free service and details can be found in the local telephone book. (NB This service may not be suitable for broadband users).

                    Extension bells An extension bell could help you hear the telephone ring. BT will supply one extension bell free of charge for residential customers who are hard of hearing. Ideally this should be fitted in the hallway of the accommodation. If no telephone socket is available in the hallway BT will fit this without charge.

                    For phone adjustments, adapted phones or equipment

                    BT Age and Disability Action Team

                    Telephone: 0800 800150 E-mail: Website:


                    Telephone: 01737 247571 Website:

                    Telephone: 01707 372372 E-mail: Website:

                    Action on Hearing Loss Shop* Telephone: 01733 361199 Text: 01733 238020 E-mail: Website:

                    *Action on Hearing Loss no longer sell equipment but will still offer impartial advice and make recommendations.

                      How do I use the loop system?

                      When activated, the loop or telecoil setting on your hearing aid should make it easier to hear in public places, e.g. train station, bank, post office, church, theatre or cinema. Look out for the symbol with a T in the bottom right corner.


                      To use the loop system you will need to select the loop program in your hearing aids (if activated) – details of how to do this in your specific hearing aid can be found in the manufacturer’s leaflet.

                        Where can I access equipment sessions?

                        These sessions provide an opportunity to try out a range of equipment. The sessions are held on a monthly basis. Please contact Audiology Reception to book your place.

                        Please contact Audiology Reception to book your place

                        Amplified telephones

                        • Advice on using telephones with hearing aids.
                        • Demonstration of amplified phones.

                        Listening devices for

                        • TV.
                        • Meetings.
                        • Social situations.

                        Alerting devices

                        • Alarm clock.
                        • Doorbell.
                        • Telephone Bell.
                        • Smoke Alarm.

                        Also further advice and information on other equipment.

                          Can I have hearing therapy?

                          You can be referred (by your Audiologist or GP) to see a Hearing Therapist in the department who could help with:

                          • Understanding your hearing loss.
                          • Adjusting to using a hearing aid.
                          • Advice and information on additional equipment e.g. for the TV, meetings, telephone, doorbell etc.
                          • Coping strategies for dealing with problems at home, work and social situations.
                          • Lipreading and other communication tactics.
                          • Advice for family/friends.
                          • Tinnitus – explanation, discussion and tactics.

                            How do I access interpreting services for BSL users?


                            Telephone: 08445 938440 Fax: 08445 938441 Minicom: 08445 938445 Website:

                            Action on Hearing Loss

                            Telephone: 0808 808 0123 Text: 0808 808 9000 E-mail: Website:

                            Sussex Deaf Association

                            Telephone: 01273 671899 Fax: 01273 625283 Website:

                              Are there any tactics for good communication?

                              If you are deaf or hard of hearing

                              • Have you thought about learning to lip-read? Everyone lip-reads to some extent, especially in noisy places.
                              • Be open, tell the person you’re speaking to that you lip-read, before you start a conversation.
                              • Ask people to get your attention before they start talking to you.
                              • Do not stand too far away from the person who is speaking to you.
                              • Try to keep calm and do not panic. If you become anxious or flustered, it might be harder for you to follow what is being said.
                              • If your hearing is not the same in both ears, try turning your better side towards the person speaking to you.
                              • If you do not catch what someone says first of all, do not be afraid to ask them to repeat it or say it in a different way.
                              • If necessary, ask people to slow down and speak more clearly.
                              • Do not be too hard on yourself. No one hears correctly all the time.
                              • Make sure you can see the speaker’s face and lips. Their gestures and facial expressions will help you understand what they’re saying.
                              • In a noisy place, move to a quieter area if possible. Position yourself how it suits you best to hear those you are talking to (this may be sitting in a corner or sitting with your back to most of the background noise, for instance).

                              If you are speaking to someone who has a hearing loss

                              • Even if someone is wearing a hearing aid, it does not mean that they can hear you. Ask if they need to lip-read you.
                              • Make sure you have the listener’s attention before you start speaking.
                              • Speak clearly but not too slowly, and do not exaggerate your lip movements.
                              • Use natural facial expressions and gestures.
                              • If you are talking to a deaf person and a hearing person, do not just focus on the hearing person.
                              • Do not shout. It is uncomfortable for a hearing aid user and it looks aggressive.
                              • If someone does not understand what you have said, do not just keep repeating it. Try saying it in a different way.
                              • Find a suitable place to talk, with good lighting, away from noise and distractions.
                              • Remember not to turn your face away from a deaf person. Always turn back to your listener so they can see your face.
                              • Check that the person you are talking to can follow you. Be patient and take the time to communicate properly.
                              • Use plain language and do not waffle. Avoid jargon and unfamiliar abbreviations.

                              Lip Reading

                              To find classes in your area go to and search ‘find a lipreading class’. Alternatively, do some online learning at: Lip reading classes within Sussex area (always check availability and book in advance):

                              Brighton & Hove

                              Action on Hearing Loss, Community Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XG.

                              Day: 3rd Wednesday each month (current waiting list)

                              Time: 1pm - 2.30pm

                              Level: Mixed

                              Telephone: 01273 840960 Email:

                              Haywards Heath

                              Action for Deafness, 22 Sussex Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 4EA.

                              Days and times: Monday 2pm - 4pm Tuesday 10am – 12 noon Thursday 10am – 12 noon

                              Level: Mixed

                              Contact/Tutor: Helen Smith

                              Telephone: 01444 415582 E-mail:


                              House of Friendship, 208 High Street, Lewes, BN7 2NS.

                              Day and time: Wednesday 10am - 11:30am

                              Level: Mixed

                              Telephone: 01273 476469 E-mail:

                                Can I get assistance with travel?


                                Everyone that wears an NHS hearing device is eligible to apply for a Disabled Persons Railcard from National Rail. This provides discounted rail travel for a small annual fee.

                                Details and application forms are available from the Audiology reception or online at:

                                Bus passes

                                Anyone that has a severe-profound hearing loss (70dB + loss) in the West Sussex, East Sussex and Brighton and Hove areas is entitled to a disabled person’s bus pass. You can apply online or via post. We can provide you with a copy of your audiogram.

                                Brighton and Hove City council:

                                Telephone: 01273 291924 E-mail: Website:

                                East Sussex County Council:

                                Telephone: 0300 33 09 471 Website: In person: Pick up a form from your local East Sussex library.

                                West Sussex County Council:

                                Telephone: 033 022 26222 E-mail: Website:

                                  Can I register as hearing impaired with my local council?

                                  Registering with your local council as hearing impaired can be beneficial for their data collection and service planning. To register, please contact your council by using the contact information below. We can provide a copy of your audiogram if required.

                                  Brighton & Hove

                                  Brighton & Hove City Council

                                  Business Support Health and Adult Social Care 2nd Floor Bartholomew House Bartholomew Square, Brighton, BN1 1JE.

                                  Telephone: 01273 296380 E-mail:

                                  West Sussex

                                  Adults’ CarePoint

                                  Parkside/County Hall North, Third Floor, Chartway, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1XH.

                                  Telephone: 01243 642121 Textphone: 01403 275515 SMS: 07736 093462 Fax: 01403 217671 E-mail:

                                  East Sussex

                                  Health and Social Care Connect

                                  St. Mary’s House, 52 St Leonard’s Road, Eastbourne, BN21 3UU.

                                  Telephone: 0345 60 80 191 Text: 07797 878 111 Minicom via type talk: 18001 0345 60


                                    Which organisations can be useful?

                                    Action on Hearing Loss

                                    Telephone: 0808 808 0123 Text: 0808 808 9000 E-mail: Website:

                                    Hearing Link

                                    Telephone: 0300 111 1113 Website:

                                    Hearing Like Me


                                    Hear Together

                                    E-mail: Website:


                                    Tel/text: 0300 330 9256 or 020 7520 0972 Website:

                                    Deafblind UK

                                    Telephone: 0800 132320 Text: 07950 008870 Text relay: 18001 then 0800 132320

                                    Facetime: (not BSL) E-mail: Website:

                                    Meniere’s Society

                                    Telephone: 01483 740597 Text: 01483 771207 Website:

                                    National Deaf Children’s Society Helpline

                                    Tel/text: 0808 800880 Website: Take on Tinnitus Telephone: 0800 018 0527 Website:

                                    British Tinnitus Association Telephone: 0800 018 0527 E-mail: Website:

                                    Hearing Aids for Music


                                      Who do I contact for further appointments?

                                      We recommend a reassessment of your hearing every three years. Please phone the Audiology department to book a reassessment appointment. Further appointments can be booked at any site where our clinics are based:

                                      Sussex House
                                      Royal Sussex County Hospital
                                      County Oak Medical Centre
                                      Mile Oak Medical Centre
                                      Orchard House at Lewes Victoria Hospital
                                      Princess Royal Hospital

                                      If you are unable to attend or no longer need your appointment, please let us know as soon as possible by using the below contact details. We can then agree another date/time that is convenient for you or cancel the appointment if you no longer wish to be seen.

                                      These appointments are in great demand and if you no longer require one please let us know as soon as possible so your time can be offered to another patient.

                                      Direct Telephone: 0300 303 9640 Text: 07551 360721 Email:


                                        This information is intended for patients receiving care in Brighton & Hove or Haywards Heath.

                                        The information in this leaflet is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.

                                          Publication Date: July 2022

                                          Review Date: April 2025

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