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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 3 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, middle ear congestion).
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.
Conductive hearing loss is often due to the development of disease or injury in the ear canal, ear drum or the space and ossicles behind the ear drum (middle ear). This type of hearing loss often reduces the quality of the sound as well as its loudness, sounds will be quieter than usual and you may notice 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.
Either hearing aids or implants can help, hearing implants being considered where traditional hearing aids are not suitable. However, a hearing implant will not cure your hearing loss. It can only amplify the hearing you naturally still have. It will not give you back the hearing you have lost. In most cases, surgery is an option to attempt to cure your hearing loss, which you would have to discuss with the ENT surgeon.
A hearing implant is not a ‘quick-fix’ solution, it takes time, practice and perseverance. The more you wear your hearing implant 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. Your own voice may sound peculiar initially. You will soon become accustomed to it.
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.
Hearing implants can be percutaneous (implant protruding through the skin) or transcutaneous (intact skin as implant is fully implanted underneath the skin).
Cleaning: You should clean all external parts of your implant. The sound processor should be cleaned with a damp cloth or antibacterial wipe when you take it off at night. Getting the sound processor wet will permanently damage it. If you have an abutment (percutaneous implant), make sure to clean around the abutment daily to avoid infections (use a soft brush or simply rub the area with soap and water).
Storing: When not in use and at night, open the battery drawer and leave the sound processor in a dry place to air out. Avoid extreme heat or cold.
To safely and comfortably connect the sound processor, tilt it slightly and carefully push it onto the abutment. Please note it is important to keep hair out of the way when the sound processor is connected to the abutment.
The sound processor is safely and comfortably disconnected by carefully tilting it away from the abutment.
Ensure the sound processor is placed in the correct position: it should be positioned vertically with the battery drawer at the bottom and microphones in the horizontal plane.
Simply hold the sound processor over the implant area and the magnetic attraction will pull it into place over the implant. Ensure the sound processor is placed in the correct position: it should be positioned vertically with the battery drawer at the bottom and microphones in the horizontal plane.
If your device is faulty, you can hand it in to the Audiology Department. The device will then be sent to the manufacturer for repair and you will be made aware when it is ready to be collected.
Alternatively, you can post it to the Audiology department by special delivery to the face value of £2500. Include a letter with a description of the fault and your name, date of birth and address. Your device will then be repaired and returned to you by post as quickly as possible, this can take up to 2 weeks or more as the device will need to be sent to the manufacturer to be repaired.
In some situations, we may be able to issue a loan device whilst yours is sent off to be repaired. If this is the case, you will be asked to return the loan device once yours is repaired.
All hearing devices remain NHS property and must be returned if not wanted or needed. The department may charge for lost or neglected NHS hearing devices in accordance with our written policy which you will be provided with.
You can get new batteries from a clinic in your area. We also supply batteries 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.
Orchard House Lewes Victoria Hospital Neville Road, BN7 1PE Telephone: 01273 402508
Charter Medical Centre 88 Davigdor Road, BN3 1RF Telephone: 01273 738070
Knoll House, Ingram Crescent West Portland Road, BN3 5NX Telephone: 01273 267588
Hove Poly Clinic, Nevill Avenue, BN3 7HY, Telephone: 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
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
Polyclinic 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; E-mail: email@example.com Website: https://new.brighton-hove.gov.uk/adult-social-care.
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 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.eastsussex.gov.uk/socialcare/adults/disability/ sensory/default.htm
Demonstration of equipment available from Social Services or for purchase from suppliers:
For an assessment contact:
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
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
Using an amplified phone
Using a speaker phone
If you use the hands-free function of your phone you would have the benefit of hearing through both your sound processors/ears.
Other useful tips
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*
*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 sound processor 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. You may require a streamer to be able to access the loop system, discuss this with your audiologist if in doubt.
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.
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
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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Telephone: 01273 296380 E-mail: BSHASC@brighton-hove.gov.uk.
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: email@example.com.
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 Email: Health and Social Care Connect.
Action on Hearing Loss
Hearing Like Me
National Deaf Children’s Society
Take on Tinnitus
British Tinnitus Association
Hearing Aids for Music
We recommend a reassessment of your hearing every 3 years. Please phone the Audiology department to book a reassessment appointment.
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