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Hearing implant 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 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.


    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, 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.

      How do I maintain my hearing implants?

      Hearing implants can be percutaneous (implant protruding through the skin) or transcutaneous (intact skin as implant is fully implanted underneath the skin).

      Percutaneous implant


      Transcutaneous implant


      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.

        How do I attach my sound processor?

        Percutaneous implant


        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.


        Transcutaneous implant

        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.


          How do I find a fault with my sound processor?


            How do I access repair services?

            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.

              Where can I get batteries from?

              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

              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

              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; E-mail: Website:

                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 E-mail: Website: sensory/default.htm

                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 E-mail:

                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?

                  Using an ordinary phone

                  • Place the telephone earpiece near the sound processor.
                  • Do not put the phone to your ear as the sound processor will not be able to pick up the sound from the telephone then.
                  • Adjust the volume control on the sound processor if available but beware that the sound processor may ‘whistle’ or ‘feedback’ if the volume is too high.

                  Using an amplified phone

                  • Press the ‘amplify’ button on the telephone (on some phones).
                  • Hold the phone near the sound processor 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

                  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

                  • 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 ‘cold callers’ a nuisance, 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*

                  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 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.


                      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.

                      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: Wednesday Time: 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 Email: Health and Social Care Connect.

                                  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: Sense 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 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.

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

                                      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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