Our Audiology Department is located at Sunderland Royal Hospital, with satellite services provided at Palmer Community Hospital, Flagg Court Primary Care Centre (South Tyneside) and Washington Health Centre. The team also provide services from several community and GP locations across the local area.
The department provides hearing assessments and rehabilitation services from birth onwards and also more specialised services including balance (dizziness) assessment, complex needs, hearing therapy and BAHA bone conduction auditory implants.
Quality and innovation are at the core of what we do. We were at the forefront of the Modernising Hearing Aid Services project (adults and children) and more recently have been involved with Improving Quality in Physiological Diagnostic Services (IQIPS) quality initiatives in Audiology.
AUDIOLOGY SERVICE ARRANGEMENTS FROM 23 MARCH 2020
In view of the current situation and following the available national guidance the decision has been taken to suspend all routine Audiology services. This includes routine hearing assessment, balance assessment and hearing aid provision. We hope that you understand that this decision has not been taken lightly.
If you have been a given an audiology appointment then these appointments have been cancelled/suspended until further notice. You will be contacted by telephone to confirm this.
Your place in any waiting list will be maintained and we will contact you with a re-arranged appointment once we are in a position to do so.
Please do not ring Audiology with appointment queries as staff may be busy dealing with urgent queries. There may only be a very small core of staff within Audiology as they may have been assigned to other duties helping colleagues elsewhere in the Hospital
If you receive a further appointment and you have any symptoms of Covid-19 or you or a member of your household are in isolation the please let us know and do not attend the appointment. Please contact nhs.uk or NHS 111 (on line) for advice.
Urgent Hearing Assessment
If you experience sudden or rapid unexplained hearing loss (for example within the last 30 days) or if you or your child has had bacterial meningitis then arrangements will be made to have an urgent hearing assessment as part of your care. This will usually be either via NHS 111 or requested by the doctor in charge of your care.
Hearing Aid Repairs
There is some information about self management of your hearing aids at www.stsft.nhs.uk. This includes information about simple checks if your hearing aid is not working, retubing your earmould and replacing thin tubes/domes.
If there is an urgent need for a repair or earmould (for example young children under the age of 5, vulnerable patients or patients with underlying health conditions in self isolation) then please contact us either by telephone or e-mail (preferred). Where possible and appropriate we will arrange a postal repair.
If you run out of batteries then in emergencies we can send some out if you contact us (preferably with a stamp addressed envelope).
You should also be aware that in an emergency you can buy batteries from larger supermarkets and chemists. If the packaging looks unfamiliar, be aware that orange pack batteries may be known as “13” batteries blue pack batteries may be known as “675” batteries and brown batteries may be known as “10” batteries.
If you are awaiting an assessment of your child’s hearing and are concerned that they may not be hearing well then there are some steps you can take.
- Attract your child’s attention before speaking
- Talk in a normal clear voice but at a closer distance than normal
- Wherever possible keep background noise to a minimum
- Be prepared to repeat any instructions if necessary
If your child has been diagnosed with glue ear and they are waiting for either a hearing assessment or a hearing aid to help manage this getting them to “pop their ears” (as long as they do not have cold) or use of an OtoVent (available from chemists) may help.
Newborn Hearing Screen
If your baby has been screened and has been referred to audiology then we will contact you as soon as we are able to arrange an assessment appointment.
Useful web-based resources
Hearing and Hearing Aids
Adult Hearing Services
If you have any concern about your hearing then there are various online tools where you can check this, such as the one provided by Action on Hearing Loss www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk (telephone 0808 808 0123).
If you would like your hearing assessed or would like to try a hearing aid, then please ask your GP to refer you to our Audiology service.
Adult hearing services can be accessed by Any Qualified Provider (over age 55), Direct Access (under age 55) or via the Ear Nose Throat (ENT) department if there are other ENT conditions.
The Audiology Department provides an inclusive Adult Hearing Aid Service, using a range of high quality devices. We have a dedicated assessment pathway for patients with Complex Needs/Learning Disabilities.
If you think there is a problem with your hearing aid or ear mould you can request a repair appointment by telephone on 0191 569 9001 or by emailing email@example.com. Please note that if your NHS hearing aid was provided by another provider (including high street providers) then you will need to contact them for batteries and repairs.
If you have a hearing aid provided by us then you can obtain free NHS batteries from most health centres on production of your brown Hearing Aid Book.
Children's Hearing Assessment and Hearing Aid Service
The Children’s Hearing Assessment Service provides comprehensive assessment of hearing in newborns, infants and children following appropriate national guidance including that of the National Deaf Children’s Society (www.ndcs.org.uk)
If you have any concern regarding your child’s hearing, please ask your GP to refer you to our Audiology service (under Choose & Book) or to the Ear, Nose and Throat Department if there are associated medical issues (such as repeated ear infections).
In addition the Children’s Hearing Aid Service provides a comprehensive assessment, prescription, verification, evaluation and review service using high quality hearing aids. Children are reviewed on a regular basis. We have an excellent working relationship with local education and sensory support services.
Newborn Hearing Screening Programme
All babies born in England are now offered the Newborn Hearing Screen to early identify any significant hearing loss.
We provide the Newborn Hearing Screen across Sunderland, South Tyneside and Gateshead using a dedicated team of hearing screeners. Babies who are referred from the screen are seen for detailed hearing assessment by experienced staff. Hearing loss is typically identified at around 4-8 weeks of age with high quality hearing aids provided soon after.
Please let us know as soon as possible if you are unable to attend any appointments offered as part of the Newborn Hearing Screen. If you have any concern regarding your baby’s hearing or if you have missed the Newborn Hearing Screen, please asks your Health Visitor or GP to refer to us for early hearing assessment.
Hearing Therapy and Tinnitus Services
Hearing aid provision is complemented by the Hearing Therapy service. Lip reading classes are provided and there is a tinnitus service including the provision of ear level noise generators. The department can arrange demonstrations of a wide range of assistive listening devices.
More information is available from the British Tinnitus Association (www.tinnitus.org.uk 0800 018 0527)
Balance Assessment and Balance Rehabilitation Services
In most cases patients will have been referred to the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Department and as part of your management you may be referred to the Audiology service for assessment and management.
Balance assessment is undertaken using a full range of techniques. Rehabilitation is also provided where appropriate for those identified with vestibular problems who may benefit from this. We have excellent links with Physiotherapy, Care of the Elderly and the ENT Department to promote recovery and symptom management.
BAHA Bone Conduction Auditory Implants
We provide an adult BAHA Bone Conduction Auditory Implant assessment and provision service using a choice of devices from a number of manufacturers.
These devices may be appropriate for patients with significant conductive hearing loss, persistent ear infections or hearing loss affecting one ear only.
We are also able to assess and provide BAHA Softband for children who may benefit from them.
Reception - 0191 569 9001
Choose & Book - 0191 569 925
Fax - 0191 569 9814
Text Phone - 0191 569 9610
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
The nearest car park is located adjacent to Chester Road (A183).
Please use Entrance 5 to access the department.
Head of Service/Consultant Clinical Scientist - Ed Brown (CS.283)
Senior Clinical Scientist/Lead for Balance & Complex Services - Lynzee McShea (CS 17737)
Adult Audiology Service Manager - Brian Pinkney
Clinical Scientist/Lead for Specialist Services - Stella Devlin (CS18664)
Audiology Team Leader - Deb Heatlie
Clinical Scientist - Kimberley Novis
Newborn Hearing Local Manager - Linda Baglin