ENT & audiology is the study of hearing and balance disorders. The tests are carried out by an Audiologist who will assess if there is any loss of hearing.
As well as providing audiology services in hospitals around the UK, InHealth also operate Hearing Care Centres on the high street, with the first centre now open in Derby City Centre.
If you require assistance with language interpretation or would like to be escorted by a friend, relative or carer, please advise the Referral Centre so that the clinic staff are ready for you.
It is vital that before your appointment you have your ears checked for any wax problems at your GP clinic. If your ears are blocked with wax when you arrive for testing, your appointment may be cancelled and you will be referred back to your GP. This is because wax may prevent a proper examination of your ears and will adversely affect the hearing test.
Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment time; if you are late we may not be able to carry out your test. Please do not bring children to your appointment.
If the clinic is a mobile unit it will have a lift, in case you cannot use stairs. At the clinic you will see a specialist called an audiologist for your hearing test. All assessments carried out during your appointment will take approximately 45 minutes.
The audiologist will conduct an initial assessment before testing your hearing, by asking questions about your medical history, using an instrument called an otoscope to look at your ear canal and membrane, and conducting a questionnaire to see if you'll benefit from a hearing aid.
The hearing test called audiometry will last about 20 minutes. The audiologist will conduct several different tests, to check the condition of your hearing.
The first test will involve you wearing headphones and listening to a variety of tones sounding like musical notes. You'll have to indicate when you hear the particular sound, usually by pressing a button. It's very important that you respond to the quietest sound you can hear even if you are not sure. We are able to tell if your response is a valid one or not so you don't need to worry about doing the test incorrectly.
The results of this test are drawn on a chart called an audiogram. If the results show hearing loss, you will be asked to take another test.
The next test requires you to put on a headband with a vibrating pad, which transmits sound through the bones in your skull to your ears.
When the results of this test are compared with the first test, it shows up any problems you might have with your eardrum or middle ear. This helps to decide what can be done about your hearing loss. You may be given another test where you will be asked to listen to sentences or words and repeat what you hear.
Once the test is finished the Audiologist will explain the results to you. The outcome will be either that your hearing is normal, or that you require onward referral to an Ear, Nose & Throat Consultant or that you would benefit from a hearing aid. If a hearing aid is required you have the choice of whether you want this fitted. The Audiologist is there to advise you and take your instructions and he will take the appropriate action depending upon what decision you make.
If you have been advised that you would benefit from having a hearing aid (or aids), the Audiologist may choose to fit you with a hearing aid straightaway during the appointment (called an 'open fitting'). If not, the audiologist will take an impression of your ears so that a customised ear mould can be made for you. This has to be sent away but as soon as it returns we will be in contact with you to make an appointment at your convenience, this is usually within 2 weeks.
At the subsequent appointment we will fit you with your hearing aid, programme it to match your type and degree of hearing loss, and give you full instructions on how to use and control it. Everything we tell you will be written down so that you can go over it again later.
We will arrange a follow up 6 - 8 weeks later to see how you are progressing and perform any alterations required.
If you find it difficult to get used to your hearing aid, do not give up. Try wearing it for a few days and make a note of all the problems you have with it. Then make an appointment with the Audiology Referral Centre to see an audiologist (0845 602 6918).