We provide a range of services in the Audiology Department. Please follow the links for more information.
Adult hearing assessments
We provide hearing tests for adults aged 50 and over. Adults need to be referred by their GP direct to Audiology. If a hearing loss is found which would benefit from a hearing aid, this will be discussed and arrangements made for a hearing aid fitting if appropriate. Those aged under 50 are seen by an audiologist at the ENT department at QMC.
What will happen during my hearing assessment?
Your appointment will last around an hour. You will be seen by an audiologist, who is trained in the assessment of hearing, and rehabilitation using hearing aids. Sometimes the audiologist will be working with an associate audiologist.
The audiologist will ask you questions about your hearing such as when you have difficulties hearing, and for how long you have had problems. They will also ask some questions about the health of your ears, such as if you have had infections or perforations, as well as about your general health. They will look into your ears using a special torch (an otoscope) to make sure they are healthy. The hearing test involves wearing headphones and listening to different sounds. Each time you hear a sound, you will be asked to press a button. These sounds will vary in loudness. The audiologist will find out which sounds you are able to hear, separately for each ear. After the test, the audiologist will explain the results.
This will show if you have a hearing loss, and if so, which pitches of hearing are affected and to what degree. If you have a hearing loss, it is very likely that you would benefit from hearing aids. If hearing aids are recommended and you would like to try them, a cast of your ears will be taken so individual ear inserts (earmoulds) can be made. An appointment will be arranged for you to come back for the hearing aid fitting, typically 3 to 4 weeks later.
Adult hearing loss support
A comprehensive hearing aid and support service is provided for adults with a hearing loss. Digital behind-the-ear hearing aids are fitted as standard, using specialised systems to ensure the aids are set to the correct levels of an individual's loss. Following a hearing aid fitting, patients are able to arrange a follow-up appointment to ensure they are getting maximum benefit from their aids. A hearing therapy service provides further support and information for individuals and groups.
Ongoing support for hearing aid users is provided every weekday at hearing aid repair clinics and nurse-led ear de-wax clinics. If individuals feel their hearing has got worse or they are no longer getting as much benefit from their hearing aids, a reassessment of hearing and hearing aid needs can be arranged.
Bone anchored hearing aids (BAHA)
The Nottingham Audiology Services Bone Anchored Hearing Aid Programme provides assessment, fitting, rehabilitation and an ongoing follow-up service for patients who are provided with a BAHA as an alternative to conventional bone conduction or insert air conduction hearing aids. This service is provided for adults and children.
BAHA are hearing aids providing direct bone conduction amplification from a surgically implanted, titanium fixture in the bone, just behind the ear. Using bone conduction the BAHA provides a solution for many people who have ear problems and are unable to use hearing aids fitted in to the ear canal. Patients with chronic otitis media and congenital malformations may benefit and BAHA can also be used by patients with single sided deafness resulting from surgery, trauma or disease.
The sound processor is fitted to an abutment, attached to a small titanium implant, which is surgically placed in the bone behind the ear. The bone is used as the pathway for the sound to travel to the inner ear, bypassing the middle ear.
BAHA are available in a variety of colours to blend in with the hair. Cordelle II BAHA with body worn units are also available for patients with more severe hearing difficulties. Following referral from an ENT specialist, for patients where it is considered a BAHA may be suitable, an initial assessment is carried out at the Audiology Department at Ropewalk House. This is to ensure that patients fit the criteria. If the assessment indicates that the BAHA would be beneficial a surgery date can then be arranged.
Surgery is usually as a day case at the Ear, Nose and Throat Centre at QMC. Follow-up appointments at the ENT clinic will be necessary for wound dressing and checks. Between two and six weeks post surgery, the selected BAHA can then be fitted at the clinic at Ropewalk House. There are then ongoing follow-ups at the BAHA Clinic, Ropewalk House.
Hearing aid repair clinics
- Monday AM, Carlton Health Centre
- Monday PM, Keyworth Health Centre (repairs and triage)
- Tuesday AM, Bulwell Health Centre (repairs and triage) and Clifton Health Centre
- Tuesday PM (monthly), Lark Hill Retirement Village
- Wednesday AM, Hucknall Health Centre and Arnold Health Centre
- Wednesday PM, Arnold Health Centre
- Thursday AM (fortnightly), West Bridgford Health Centre
- Thursday PM, Bingham Health Centre (fortnightly) and Bulwell Health Centre (weekly - triage only)
- Friday AM, Beeston Health Centre, Eastwood Health Centre and Stapleford Health Centre
- Friday PM, Stapleford Health Centre (repairs and triage), Strelley Health Centre (fortnightly) and Seagrave Retirement Village (3-monthly)
- All clinics listed above offer repairs unless otherwise stated. Repairs available include:
Repair or replacement of faulty hearing aids, which includes:
- servicing including routine replacement of filters and accessories
- impressions for replacement earmoulds
- modification of earmoulds for comfort and acoustic reasons
- minor adjustment to hearing aid settings.
Some of the clinics above (as indicated) offer triage, which includes:
- triage for reassessment of hearing aid needs
- hearing reassessment for people with obsolete hearing aids
- hearing reassessment for people whose hearing needs have changed
- minor adjustment to hearing aid settings
- signposting and referral for further management.
The hearing therapy services work within Adult Audiology and specialise in the assessment and management of individual communication needs. We see adults and occasionally children who may be experiencing difficulties in managing the impact of, or coming to terms with, their hearing problems.
The hearing therapist will also see individuals with disorders that are associated with hearing difficulties, for example tinnitus or balance problems. Some individuals are referred to hearing therapy for general hearing aid counselling and management strategies, whereas others may have more complex communication needs for multiple disabilities.
The hearing therapist will always look at a person's equipment needs and refer on to social services for equipment where appropriate.
The equipment service can also prove very useful to individuals who may struggle to hear well in their work environment. Of those individuals who attend hearing therapy, most will require information and advice about how to cope with their hearing difficulties, some may also choose to conduct a six week programme of lipreading tuition with their therapist. It may also be relevant for some individuals to attend for relaxation training, assertiveness discussions or ongoing counselling.
Who can make a referral?
We offer an open referral system, which means we accept self-referrals, referrals from Audiologists, ENT and other agencies of care, such as Social Services and GPs.
Services for adults with learning difficulties
Within the Missing Out Service (MOS), we have a dedicated team who specialise in the hearing care of adults with any form of learning difficulty. The aim of the service is to support people with learning disabilities in getting the most from their hearing, whether this is by the use of hearing aids, ongoing support and advice on communication tactics or even general advice on ear care.
We are able to visit people at their home, at day centres or support groups, or wherever they feel most comfortable so as to minimise anxiety and encourage co-operation. We offer adapted hearing assessments and regular hearing aid checks.
Anyone can refer to the Missing Out Service. Please contact us if you would like to make an appointment, either at Nottingham Audiology Services or at an alternative venue.
What is tinnitus and what can be done to help?
Noises heard in the ears or head that do not come from outside are called tinnitus. It is a very common problem, affecting about one in every seven people in the UK.
- 7% of adults in the UK have been to their GP about tinnitus. Tinnitus affects sleep in 4 million people in the UK
- Tinnitus has been around for thousands of years
- probably almost everybody has tinnitus when in total silence
How do we hear?
The ears convert sound energy into nerve signals in the inner ear and send the information to our brains, but this is only part of the story. We don't hear with our ears, but instead with our brains. The ears are there to tell the brain what sounds are out there. Every sound that reaches our ears will be interpreted by the brain. Some sounds are ignored completely, since they are of no importance at that time, whereas others will be 'heard'. When we are babies, and as we grow up, our auditory cortex (the part of the brain responsible for interpreting sounds) is busily learning about sounds and giving each a meaning. We soon learn which sounds have pleasant meanings, such as music or the seashore; and which suggest danger, like the sound of a car horn or the growl of an animal.
Why does tinnitus trouble people so much?
Studies have shown that we probably all hear noises in our ears when we are in complete silence, but we never pay any attention to them in everyday life, since they are sub-consciously filtered out before we are even aware of them. However, some sounds are very important and these are continuously monitored for - we always hear the sound of our name in a crowd even though we are not actively listening for it. For some people the brain also 'listens' for the tinnitus sound and begins to monitor that too. Because of this it seems to be there all the time and cannot be ignored. As a result the tinnitus becomes more annoying, and so becomes even more noticeable. Think of a soldier on guard duty. He listens for and hears every little sound because his life could depend on it.
There's no cure, is there?
In most cases there is no magic cure or quick fix for tinnitus, yet many people wrongly believe there is nothing that can be done to help. Unhelpful comments like go away and learn to live with it just make the problem worse. However there are things that can be done to help, and the tinnitus clinic is geared up to provide treatment tailored to each individual. The tinnitus clinic in Nottingham was established over 25 years ago. Using up-to-date research, audiologists provide management for people with tinnitus, such as information counselling to explain the mechanisms of hearing and to demystify tinnitus, sound enrichment techniques and equipment, and other help and advice such as relaxation techniques.
Vestibular (balance) assessment
A number of different tests can be carried out to assess how well different aspects of the balance system are working, to include an assessment of sway and how well each vestibular (balance) organ in the ear is working. Tests are selected according to the symptoms of each individual patient. Individuals are first seen by the Ear, Nose and Throat department for a medical assessment and then by Nottingham Audiology Services for a specialist balance assessment if appropriate. Vestibular (balance) rehabilitation
Rehabilitation can be given to people with movement-induced dizziness, and for balance problems due to the functioning of the vestibular organs in the ears. Patients are typically seen for a vestibular (balance) assessment first.
Young persons transition services
At Nottingham Audiology Services, we offer a young person’s clinic, aimed at all hearing aid users between the ages of 16 and 25. Our primary aim is to offer support and guidance to our patients who are in the process of transferring from our paediatric to adult services at an important stage of their life.
As well as offering reassurance along their journey we give advice on higher education, help in the work place, assistive listening devices, funding. We also look into ways technology can further enhance their lifestyle and help ensure they are able to continue being a part of their social group, so they can enjoy similar opportunities to that of their peers. The service provides information to the young person, partners, families, and friends. Our goal is to empower the young person to become more independent and take control of their own health and decision making.
The service provided is run by a team of specialist audiologists with extensive experience of working with hearing aids and modern hearing aid technology. We have a multidisciplinary team with strong links with hearing therapy, adult services and ENT where we modernise our service regularly to help meet patient’s individual’s needs.