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Audiology

What we do

Audiology is the healthcare science of hearing and balance disorders. The primary aim is to help people overcome the barriers placed in their way as a consequence of hearing or balance problems.

We provide a full range of hearing and balance services, including:

What we do

Our team of audiologists provide the following services:

  • Hearing assessments, including approaches tailored for people with learning disabilities or dementia
  • Advice about how to manage your hearing and tinnitus, and onward referral to our hearing therapy service for more help with this if required
  • Fitting and adjustment of a wide variety of advanced digital hearing aids
  • Comprehensive aftercare including follow ups and hearing aid repairs

If you have a severe / profound hearing loss we provide a dedicated service.  You will meet audiologists with specialist knowledge.

Preparing for your appointment

In preparation for your first appointment, please think about 4 situations where you would like to be able to hear more clearly.

Wax check

It is important that your ears are clear of wax when you come for your appointment. Wax may:

  • prevent us from performing your hearing assessment
  • prevent us from fitting a hearing aid
  • cause whistling if we fit a hearing aid

If you are prone to wax build up, please visit your GP or practice nurse to check your ears for wax, before you attend your appointment.

What to bring

Please bring with you hearing aids, ear moulds and documentation that you may have from any previous Audiology appointments.

If you wear glasses please bring these with you to your appointment.

We would encourage you to bring a family member or friend with you to your appointment. There may be some detailed information that you would like to discuss with someone after the appointment, and it will provide an opportunity for your companion to find out more about the implications of your hearing.

Interpreters

If you require an interpreter for any language including British Sign Language, please contact our department as soon as possible to request that this is arranged.

Hospital transport

If you require hospital transport you will need to arrange this through your GP.

What to expect at your appointment

Consultations usually last around 30-60 minutes. We will ask you about your ears and any difficulties you may be having with your hearing.

We will look in your ears to check they are healthy and complete a hearing test. This usually involves wearing a pair of headphones and pressing a button whenever you hear a beep.

After discussing the results of your hearing test, we will explain your options.  Together we will agree on a plan to help with any hearing difficulties you may be experiencing.

This plan may include:

  • Advice on listening tactics
  • Fitting of one or two hearing aids
  • Information on assistive listening devices, for example equipment to help you hear the TV or phone
  • Referral to other specialists such as an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor or tinnitus specialist

If you choose to try a hearing aid we may be able to fit your hearing aids on the day or you may need a further appointment to receive them.

Location

We offer our service at six sites:

Patient information

Information booklet for hearing aid users, produced by us at BSUH

C2Hear has useful information videos on hearing aids

Action on Hearing Loss is the new name of RNID, the largest charity representing the 11 million people confronting deafness and hearing loss in the UK.

Connevans manufacture and supply a range of equipment and aids for the hearing impaired. Website includes on-line catalogue. product information and user advice.

Hearing Link is a leading UK charity for people with hearing loss, their families and friends.

What we do

Our specialist audiology service provides hearing assessment and habilitation for very young children, children with multiple disabilities, children at an increased risk of permanent hearing problems and children diagnosed with permanent hearing loss.

We liaise closely with other professionals to best support the families of babies and children under our care. This multi-disciplinary approach encompasses paediatrics, neonatology, ENT, neurology, oncology, auditory implant services, speech and language therapy, sensory needs services, social care services and voluntary organisations.

Hearing Therapists provide additional support, communication tactics, equipment advice and  tinnitus retraining to children and coordinate our young adult’s transition to adult services.

We also offer balance assessment clinics for children.

Prepare for your appointment

In most cases your child will be seen by 2 specialist paediatric audiologists and the appointment will last from 1-2 hours depending on the age and the type of test they require. There are several testing techniques which can be used to assess how a child is hearing. Which test is used will usually depend on the child’s developmental age and sometimes whether they are awake or asleep.

Location

We are based on the 2nd floor of the Barry Building at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

We are also able to offer appointments for children over 6 years old (if deemed appropriate) at the following sites:

Useful Information

Baby hearing screening test, information leaflet produced by us at BSUH

National Deaf Children’s Society

 

What we do

Patients who are thought to have dizziness or imbalance due to an ear-related cause are often referred to us for further tests and, if appropriate, rehabilitation.  The length of the appointment depends on what sort of tests have been requested by the doctor who referred you.  The duration can be from 30 minutes to 150 minutes and your appointment letter will state how long it is expected to take.

Prepare for your appointment

If the appointment letter states that testing will take 90 minutes or more it will request that the individual:

  • Have their ears checked for wax at the GP surgery. The ears need to be completely free of wax.
  • Stop taking the following medications for 36 hours prior to the appointment: prochlorperazine (Stemetil®, Buccastem®), betahistine (Serc®) and antihistamines such as cinnarizine (Stugeron®), cyclizine and promethazine.
  • Does not take alcohol or recreational drugs 36 hours before the appointment.
  • Does not wear any eye make-up.
  • Wear trousers/shorts and contact lenses if available.

What to expect while under our care

30 minute appointment

A few questions are asked about the person’s dizziness and whether they have any neck or back problems.  Then the clinician will describe, and probably demonstrate, the test that they would like to carry out.

Modifications may be made if the patient does not feel they would be able to perform the test exactly.  If the test is positive for the ear disorder then generally a manoeuvre can be carried out to try and resolve it.

90 + minute appointment

First a thorough medical history is taken.  The clinician will then decide which test should be performed.  Sometimes a test that involves standing on a still platform is appropriate. Generally included are a few tests that involve watching a light move around on a screen.  The eye movements are measured using special goggles that contain a camera.

The last test to be performed involves blowing some air of different temperatures into each ear in turn.  This test allows us to measure the level of balance function in each ear separately and helps the clinician decide whether a difference between the two is contributing to the balance problem.

The clinician will go through the results and may give their thoughts about what could be going on but they are not doctors so cannot make a diagnosis.  They will be able to say whether balance exercises could be helpful or not.

Balance rehabilitation

Some patients who have a balance problem due to an ear disorder will benefit from specific, customised exercises.  The clinician will ask questions about their balance problems, complete a questionnaire and probably ask the patient to stand on a low platform on the floor in order to take balance measurements.

It will then be decided which exercises are appropriate.  It is important that these exercises are performed several times are day.  A follow up appointment is usually arranged to monitor progress.

Location

We are based on the 2nd floor of the Barry Building at the Royal Sussex County Hospital

 

What we do

An appointment with a Hearing Therapist will complement hearing aid provision or may offer an alternative, by exploring other means of managing hearing difficulties.  We provide a service for adults and children.

We provide counselling and advice to help address problems experienced not only with hearing loss but also with Tinnitus, Hyperacusis, Auditory Processing Disorder (ADP) and other associated disorders.

Hearing Therapists also can advise on equipment to help with hearing difficulties and tinnitus, as well as benefits and allowances to support daily living, work or studies. We also provide Deaf Awareness Training, lip reading classes and run a Support Group for people with tinnitus: see times and location below.

Prepare for your appointment

It is helpful if you have checked that your ears are free of wax in case we need to test your hearing or make adjustments to hearing aids.

Please bring with you hearing aids if you have them.

Our sessions are usually 1 hour long and we encourage you to bring a friend or relative if you would like to.

What to expect while under our care

You will be seen within 18 weeks of referral, although we will endeavour to see you sooner.  After your initial appointment we will make as many appointments as required.  This is usually between 1 and 4.

Some appointments may take place in a group format.  You will be advised of this in your appointment letter if it is the case and you can request to be seen individually if you prefer.

Times and location

Most sessions take place at Sussex House on the Royal Sussex County Hospital site between 8 and and 6pm.  Some sessions take place in the Audrey Emerton Building, also on the Royal Sussex County Hospital site. You may be given the opportunity to be seen at an outreach clinic at Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath or County Oak Medical Centre in Hollingbury, Brighton.

Any one is welcome to come to our drop in lip reading classes at the Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton on the last Wednesday of each month between 5 and 7pm and our friendly support group for tinnitus meets at the Friends Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton on the second Wednesday of alternate months between 6 and 8pm.

Useful links

British Tinnitus Association

Action on Hearing Loss

Association of Teachers of Lip Reading to Adults

Take on Tinnitus

 

Around 40% of adults with a learning disability also have a hearing loss.  Some people with a learning disability are more likely to develop ‘age-related’ hearing loss earlier in life.

What we do

We offer a specialist service for adults with learning disabilities when routine appointments would not suit their needs.   Assessment of hearing is approached flexibly and we provide additional support to patients and support teams around hearing aid use.

We have close links with local Community Learning Disability Teams (CLDTs).  Some clinics are jointly held with a Speech and Language Therapists from the Brighton and Hove CLDT.

Location

We offer appointments at

Preparing for your appointment

 

Wax check

Wax may:

  • prevent us from performing a hearing assessment
  • prevent us from fitting a hearing aid
  • cause whistling if we fit a hearing aid

Therefore, if possible, please see your GP surgery for a wax check before your first appointment.  Please contact us if this will be not be possible.

Interpreters

If an interpreter for any language, including British Sign Language will be needed, please contact us as soon as possible to arrange this.

Hospital transport

If hospital transport will be needed please arrange this through the GP.

Hearing impairment is defined by the quietest level of sounds you can hear; known as your hearing threshold.  This measured in decibels (dB).   We take thresholds of 90dB or greater, at 2kHz and 4kHz as a severe/profound hearing loss.

What we do

Our specialist severe/profound clinic has a focus on optimising communication.

People with severe/profound hearing levels may lip-read or use sign language, even when using a hearing aid.  We will discuss optimising amplification, with hearing aids or other devices, including onward referrals for cochlear implant assessment, where appropriate.

Preparing for your appointment

Feel free to bring a family member or friend with you to your appointment.

Wax check

It is important that your ears are clear of wax when you come for your appointment. Wax may:

  • prevent us from performing your hearing assessment
  • prevent us from fitting a hearing aid
  • cause whistling if we fit a hearing aid

If you are prone to wax build up, please visit your GP or practice nurse to check your ears for wax, before you attend your appointment.

Interpreters

If you require an interpreter for any language including British Sign Language, please contact our department as soon as possible to request that this is arranged.

What to bring

Please bring with you hearing aids, ear moulds and documentation that you may have from any previous Audiology appointments.

If you wear glasses please bring these with you.

Hospital transport

If you require hospital transport you will need to arrange this through your GP.

Location

We offer appointments at

The link between hearing loss and dementia is not a new concept, but recent research has confirmed a strong association.  Put simply people living with dementia are more likely to experience hearing difficulties.  This is more than a simple link associated with age.  If you would like to know more see the Action on Hearing Loss ‘Joining Up’ report.

Early signs of both conditions can look similar

  • Difficulties following conversations
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Reduced confidence
  • Anxiety/low mood
  • Confusion

If someone can’t hear you, how can they be expected to remember what’s been said or respond well?  Therefore, we believe everyone who is referred for dementia assessment should also ask for a hearing test.

What we do

Our team have received additional dementia awareness training and we have links with the BSUH Dementia Champion.  We offered adapted hearing test methods, signposting to local support services and personalised follow up arrangements.

Please ask us about our butterfly scheme, which supports people with memory impairment. The scheme focuses on improving patient care and wellbeing when accessing any BSUH service.

Preparing for your appointment

We would encourage you to bring a family member or friend with you to your appointment. There may be information that you would like to discuss with someone after the appointment, and it will provide an opportunity for your companion to find out more about the implications of your hearing.

Wax check

It is important that your ears are clear of wax when you come for your appointment. Wax may:

  • prevent us from performing your hearing assessment
  • prevent us from fitting a hearing aid
  • cause whistling if we fit a hearing aid

If you are prone to wax build up, please visit your GP or practice nurse to check your ears for wax, before you attend your appointment.

Interpreters

If you require an interpreter for any language including British Sign Language, please contact our department as soon as possible to request that this is arranged.

What to bring

Please bring with you hearing aids, ear moulds and documentation that you may have from any previous Audiology appointments.

If you wear glasses please bring these with you.

Hospital transport

If you require hospital transport you will need to arrange this through your GP.

Location

We offer appointments at

Contact

audiology@bsuh.nhs.uk

0300 303 8360 and press option 1 for audiology and hearing aids

Audiology Department, Sussex House, Abbey Road, Brighton, BN2 1ES

Patient information

baby hearing screening test

View document

hearing aid users information booklet

View document

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