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Here at UHNM we are lucky to have a highly skilled, dedicated, compassionate Audiology team who strive to ensure our patients receive the best standards of care.  With the help of sophisticated technology, our clinicians aim to ensure the maximum potential for rehabilitation is reached for each individual.

Our Clinics operate from the following locations:

Hearing and Balance Centre​

Our new purpose built department @ the Royal Stoke encompasses a range of complex clinics including the following:

  • Adult Complex Hearing loss assessment and management
  • Adult vestibular assessment and rehabilitation
  • Adult Audiological Implants
  • Adult Auditory processing disorder and management
  • Adult Tinnitus and Hearing Therapy
  • Paediatric hearing assessment and management
  • Paediatric audiological implants
  • Paediatric complex audiological needs

 

Tinnitus clinics are also operate from community locations;  Bentilee Neighbourhood Centre, Bradwell Hospital, Cobridge Health Centre and Meir Primary Care Centre.

County Hospital and Cannock Hospital Audiology Departments:

  • Routine adult hearing loss (AQP service)
  • Adult Complex Hearing loss assessment and management
  • Adult vestibular assessment and rehabilitation
  • Adult Audiological Implants
  • Adult Auditory processing disorder and management
  • Adult Tinnitus and Hearing Therapy
  • Paediatric hearing assessment and management
  • Paediatric audiological implants
  • Paediatric complex audiological needs

All hearing losses are not the same.  For patients with severe\profound hearing loss or mixed hearing loss different  technologies and rehabilitation strategies are needed to optimise the residual hearing.  Patients can also have auditory processing disorder than means their hearing tests are within the normal range but they have difficulty hearing speech especially in background noise, Based at the Main building in the new City General hospital the Complex Hearing clinic is equipped to meet these needs.  Patients will be seen by a Specialist Audiologist.

Sound​​ Studio

Many of our patients tell us that their hearing aids sound great in a sound booth but as soon as they get outside they have problems. The 3D sound studio can be used to recreate realistic sound environments to optimised hearing aids in real world settings.  These can be anything from a car journey to a reverberant church.

Innovative He​​aring aid technologies

The Complex hearing clinic has access to the latest hearing aid technologies available on the NHS these include wireless CROS systems and frequency lowering devices.

Advanced test​ing techniques

The complex hearing clinic has access to a variety of hearing tests and verification tools including

  • Speech mapping
  • Speech in noise testing
  • Speech audiometry
  • Threshold Auditory Brainstem Response
  • Middle ear diagnostics
  • Oto-acoustic emissions
  • Cochlear dead region testing
  • Hearing loss simulator (for parents or relatives)
  • Otocam

The bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA) service at UHNS has been established for over ten years and has successfully helped over 120 patients.

Who are suita​​ble for BAHAs?

A BAHA is a special type of hearing aid for that can benefit patients who cannot use a normal hearing aid for example patients with permanently discharging ears, missing or abnormal outer ears or very narrow or closed up ear canals.

How do BAHAs ​​​work?

A BAHA can be fitted to a headband or more commonly a small surgical procedure is needed to implant a titanium fixture that allows the BAHA to clip onto.  The BAHA then converts sound energy into vibration energy that  bypass the hearing problem by sending sound vibrations directly to your inner ear via the bones of the skull.

How are patients as​​sessed?

Patient are seen by an Specialist Audiologist who will do a number of special hearing a tests to check whether you are suitable for a BAHA.  You will also be allowed to loan a BAHA on a headband to see how much benefit you get in your everyday life.  You will also be seen by the Ear Surgeon – an Otologist, who will check you are suitable for surgery.

If you are suitable and wish to go ahead you will be listed for surgery,  Once the surgery has been completed and the site has healed you will be fitted with the BAHA and trained on how to clean the site and care for the BAHA.  You will then be seen annually to check your hearing and the functionality of the BAHA.

The management of hearing loss goes beyond the issue of hearing aids; it is a deeply personal and distressing journey for many people. It affects their social skills, creates an isolated feeling and can alter the perspective on life in terms of employment, relationships and activities.  
Thankfully with digital hearing aids, our technology is the best we have ever had. But no technology can undo the feelings and concerns that we have about hearing loss. 
The main role of the Hearing Therapist is to support those with ear related conditions by providing advice, equipment or treatments. 
These main areas are around hearing loss, tinnitus (see separate page) and balance rehabilitation.  Based in the community appointment are with our Hearing Therapist.
  • Hearing 
  • Pre and post  hearing aid fitting counselling
  • Sudden loss
  • Profound loss
  • CI / BAHA (cochlear implant and bone anchored hearing aids) 
  • Dual sensory loss
  • Unilateral loss
  • Assistive listening devices
  • Communication training
  • Balance
Working with the diagnostic service, the hearing therapist can provide
  • Reassurance / Relaxation
  • Explanation and understanding of the balance system and how it works
  • What happens when it is impaired
  • Implementation of any exercise programme
  • Encourage movement and motivation
  • Regular follow ups to monitor and advise

Tin​nitus

Tinnitus is the perception of noises in the head and/or the ears which has no external source. It is not a disease or an illness; it is a symptom generated within the auditory system. 
The noise may be in one or both ears, or in the head or may be difficult to pinpoint its exact location. The noise may be low, medium or high in pitch. There may be more than one noise.  It may be continuous or come and go.   
Experiences of tinnitus are very common in all ages especially after exposure to loud noise. It is estimated that about 10% of the population have permanent tinnitus (British Tinnitus Association). 
Tinnitus, like many other health conditions, is currently incurable but is managed very well by the vast majority of people with it.  We offer help through or one stop clinics where tinnitus may be managed easily by information, support and possible hearing aid issue. 
For those more greatly troubled, our hearing therapist provides a service looking more deeply into the effects of tinnitus and working with patients to help provide tactics to deal with the anxiety or disruption. 
Information and explanation – there is a fear with tinnitus that it is being triggered by more serious health issues and that the prognosis is that it can only get worse.  By learning more about causes, onset, process of hearing and the brains reaction to sounds, it puts the person back in charge of the tinnitus and its effect. 
Counselling -  coming to terms with tinnitus, accepting it may always be there but can be managed, challenging and changing perception and negativity by use of a cognitive approach.
Hearing aids – even in the mildest hearing loss, amplification can reduce the strain to listen and enhance environmental sounds thus reducing perception of tinnitus. 
Sound therapy – use of local sound enrichment through music, naturally represented sounds, white noise and appliances.
 
Relaxation – tinnitus perception is often linked to an increase in stress levels. Learning to manage stress can impact on the perceived level of tinnitus. 
Sleep advice - very sound sleepers rarely notice any disruption and if they do it is usually only temporary. Those whose sleep is disrupted for other reasons become aware of their tinnitus in quiet making it harder to get off or return to sleep. Advice may be around sleep patterns, times, use of extraneous sounds, relaxation and general sleep hygiene rules. 

It does get better.

Studies indicate that over time the noises disappear or at least diminish to a tolerable threshold level in most cases, as the brain loses interest and stops monitoring the signal. This process is called habituation. The length of time it takes can vary from person to person – but does happen. 
The Paediatric service offers diagnostic hearing tests to newborns through to teenagers up until they leave school. We have two dedicated Paediatric rooms with soundproofed booths and observation rooms. Tests offered include
Auditory brainstem response testing
Otoacoustic emission testing
Visual reinforcement audiometry
Distraction testing.
Play audiometry
Pure tone audiometry
Speech perception and speech discrimination testing.
When a hearing loss is diagnosed management options such as amplification can then be put in place. We provide a range of hearing aids to suit individual hearing losses. We will then continue to keep the child’s hearing under periodic review alongside support from Education services for the hearing impaired. 

The balance clinic offers a range of diagnostic tests to detect vestibular (inner ear) dysfunctions. Both adults and children can be assessed in this clinic. It is equipped with a wide variety of diagnostic tools providing the following tests

  • Posturography and long force plate testing offering dynamic and activity based testing of functional balance
  • Occulomotor testing with Videonystgmography. This includes tracking, scaccades, gaze test, neck positional tests, head shake and head impulse test.
  • Air and water calorics
  • Rotatory chair testing
  • Tests and treatment for positional vertigo

Following diagnosis we offer a rehabilitation programme to manage symptoms caused by a vestibular deficit. ​

This clinic is run by our specialist audiologists at the Hearing and Balance department which is situated in the main building at UHNS. Difficulties in any of areas noted above can be exacerbated by hearing loss and it is therefore important to try and obtain an accurate assessment.

Before completing any hearing assessment we need to ensure that their ears are clear of wax or infection so for this reason our audiologists are fully trained in ear care.

To help us to complete a hearing assessment with this more challenging group of patients we use a wide variety of tests including those which may be more typically used in the paediatric field, which we make more age appropriate. The clinic has access to a variety of hearing tests and verification tools including:

Assessme​​nt

  • Otoscopy
  • Pure Tone Audiometry
  • Tympanometry
  • Speech testing – AB word, McCormick Toy test, Manchester Picture test
  • Behavioural testing – visual reinforcement testing, distraction testing

Some patients will be unable to perform a subjective hearing  tests so we employ  objective testing in the form of:

  • OAEs – otoacoustic emissions
  • TABR – threshold auditory brainstem response

Once a hearing problem is diagnosed we will consider fitting hearing aids. This clinic has access to the latest hearing aid technologies available on the NHS.

Due to the progressive nature of hearing loss with some of these patient, we review patients  every 12 months.

Often patients seen in this clinic can become quite distressed simply by visiting the hospital. In this case the GP can request for a home visit where assessment and if required hearing aid fitting can be completed in more familiar surroundings. 

To Request an appointment for repair or maintenance of your hearing aid, or to reschedule an appointment please contact us via: 

TEL: 01782 674727 (call back service)

Email: audiology.department@uhns.nhs.uk

SMS text 07768 033637

To request batteries or accessories, please use the email or text as above.  Alternatively, please leave a message on the answer machine of the following number and your request will be posted to your home address.

TEL:  01782 679444


Reassessments

County Hospital patients (with current hearing aids supplied by us) are reassessed every three years and can contact the Audiology Office to request an appointment on: 01785 230250

Royal Stoke patients (who are seen in community settings) will require a new referral from their GP.

 audiology.department@uhns.nhs.uk

We recommend we see you for a repair prior to a reassessment so we can check your ears and the condition of your current earmoulds. 

Home Visits – we do provide a domiciliary service but a GP referral is required. 

Patients in the Stafford and Cannock areas can continue to access the hearing aid service held at County and Cannock Hospitals as usual.  Please be advised that the admin teams are now based at Royal Stoke.  If you need to contact the department, details can be found under 'Booking an Appointment'.

Changes have been introduced to the routine hearing aid service based in the community clinics in the North Staffs and Stoke areas. The Clinical Commissioning Groups team is in the process of contacting patients to arrange alternative care for those patients with routine hearing loss.

Do not worry if you have not heard from the team yet, as they have a large number of patients to contact. If you have not heard from the team and urgently require batteries, you can contact them directly on either 01782 298195 or 01782 298197 and they will make arrangements for you.

AQP Referrals continue to be accepted for patients living in the Stafford and Cannock areas.  ('Choose and Book' will be available shortly).  Please see fax and postal address below.

AQP is not available from UHNM in the North Staffs and Stoke CCG areas.  However, referrals are accepted for patients with complex needs.  Please contact the department for the referral form.  These can be faxed to us on;

Fax 0843 6365084

or posted to :

The Hearing and Balance Centre

Royal Stoke University Hospital

Newcastle Road

Stoke-on-Trent

ST4 6QG

Please note that patients requiring balance assessment should be referred to the ENT department in the first instance.