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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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Hodshrove Lane, BN2 4SE
Telephone: 01273 260010
Abbey Road, Brighton,
*Re-tubing service every
Tuesday 10am – 12 noon
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
Ingram Crescent West
Portland Road, BN3 5NX
Telephone: 01273 267588
Hove Poly Clinic
Nevill Avenue, BN3 7HY
Tel: 01273 696011
Mile Oak Medical Centre
Chalky Road, BN41 2WF
Telephone: 01273 426200
Burgess Hill Clinic
The Brow, RH15 9BS
Telephone: 01444 248901
Hassocks Health Centre
Windmill Avenue, BN6 8LY
Telephone: 01273 845771
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
Church Hill, BN9 9HH
Telephone: 01273 511800
Children & Family Centre
Meridian Way, BN10 8BN
Telephone: 01273 612417
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
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.
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.
For support at work, you may be eligible to apply to the government scheme
Access to Work: www.gov.uk/access-to-work. For details of funding routes available and to check eligibility, regardless of which hearing aids you use, visit the website http://www.hearinggrants.co.uk.
Using an ordinary phone with a hearing aid
Using an amplified phone with a hearing aid
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
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
*Action on Hearing Loss no longer sell equipment but will still offer impartial advice and make recommendations.
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.
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
Listening devices for
Also further advice and information on other equipment.
You can be referred (by your Audiologist or GP) to see a Hearing Therapist in the department who could help with:
Action on Hearing Loss
Sussex Deaf Association
If you are deaf or hard of hearing
If you are speaking to someone who has a hearing loss
To find classes in your area go to http://www.atlalipreading.org.uk and search ‘find a lipreading class’. Alternatively, do some online learning at: http://www.lipreadingpractice.co.uk. 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
Action for Deafness, 22 Sussex Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 4EA.
Days and times: Monday 2pm - 4pm Tuesday 10am – 12 noon Thursday 10am – 12 noon
Contact/Tutor: Helen Smith
House of Friendship, 208 High Street, Lewes, BN7 2NS.
Day and time: Wednesday 10am - 11:30am
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: www.disabledpersons-railcard.co.uk.
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:
East Sussex County Council:
West Sussex County 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.
Parkside/County Hall North, Third Floor, Chartway, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1XH.
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
Action on Hearing Loss
Hearing Like Me
Tel/text: 0300 330 9256 or 020 7520 0972 Website: www.sense.org.uk
National Deaf Children’s Society Helpline
Hearing Aids for Music
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:
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.
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