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Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust RGB BLUE

Audiology

About us

We provide audiology services to adults and children and we aim to - 

    1. Assist in the identification and diagnosis of hearing loss.
    2. Understand living with hearing loss, tinnitus and/or hyperacusis from the perspective of the patient and their family.
    3. Help the patient minimise as far as possible the activity limitations and participation restrictions that may result from hearing loss, tinnitus or hyperacusis.

Welcome to Audiology Services. This video gives our younger patients and those with learning disabilities an idea of what to expect. Please take a look!

What we offer

We perform and interpret hearing tests.    

We advise on hearing aids and other interventions for hearing loss, tinnitus or hyperacusis.

We fit, repair and maintain hearing aids.

We can refer to and liaise with other medical and non-medical professionals (e.g. Ear nose and throat, paediatrician, speech & language therapist, education support service, sensory advice and resource centre).

Access and referrals

Adults: A GP referral is required for a hearing test or hearing aid assessment, please note that direct referral criteria apply. Self referrals are accepted for ongoing help with hearing aids for patients who have been fitted with a hearing aid from our service. Referrals for tinnitus from ear nose and throat consultants only.

Children: Referrals for hearing tests are accepted from GPs, school nurses, health visitors and paediatricians.

Key staff

Mrs J F Grant BSc, MSc (Aud), CAC, Head of audiology

The department is staffed by audiologists, associate audiologists, clinical scientists (audiology) and also accepts clinical placement trainees.

Essential contact details

Phone 01908 995199 or 01908 995156 between 9.00 and 4.30 Monday to Friday.

Fax 01908 997784
Minicom  01908 209313 ( 24 hours)

Email: audiology@mkuh.nhs.uk

Write to:

Audiology Services
Outpatients
Milton Keynes Hospital
Standing Way
Eaglestone
Milton Keynes
MK6 5LD

Hearing tests

How to get a hearing test

Adults:

Ask your GP to refer you for a hearing test, unless you already have a hearing aid issued by this department in which case you may contact us directly to arrange a test

Children:

School age children can have their hearing tested by their School Nurse who will refer the child to us if the test does not give normal results.

Parents of children of any age can also ask their GP or Health Visitor to refer their child to the department for a hearing test.

There are different types of hearing test:

Pure tone audiometry (PTA)

This is a hearing test to find the quietest sounds that you can hear. Different sounds are presented through headphones or a headband. You are asked to respond to the sounds by pressing a button. The test can be modified for children or adults who are unable to respond in this way by asking them to complete a simple task when they hear the sounds (for example putting a brick in a box).

Tympanometry

While you are sitting still a soft tipped probe is placed in your ear canal and pressure changes show how the ear drum and middle ear are working. This is a very quick test and can be performed on all ages as long as the patient is able to keep still.

Hearing tests for younger children

Babies and children have their hearing tested in a number of ways depending on their age.

Newborns all have the Newborn Hearing Screen while they are still in hospital, or come back for the screen soon after birth.

Babies who need a follow up from the Newborn Hearing Screen are tested in this department using the Auditory Brainstem Response test (ABR). This test examines the nerve of hearing as part of the hearing pathway to the brain. Sensors are placed on the skin behind the ears and on the forehead. A clicking noise is delivered to the ears with in-the-ear inserts and the brain’s response to this is shown on a graph. The test is most successful when performed on a sleeping baby.

8 months to 2 years - we observe a child’s reactions to sounds presented from either loudspeakers or in-the-ear inserts. When the sound is presented the child’s response (usually a head –turn) is rewarded with an image on a monitor or an illuminated toy placed near the loudspeaker. When the sound is presented from a loudspeaker we call this a ‘soundfield’ test and it does not test each ear separately. If we use in-the-ear inserts we get results for the ears individually.

2 - 3 years (approximately) - we ask the child to do a simple task every time they hear a sound presented from a handheld warbling device.

3+ - we hope to be able to test using headphones as explained above (pure tone audiometry).

Speech Discrimination Testing shows if the child can discriminate between similar sounding words – we measure the level at which the words need to be presented for the child to hear them correctly. Different forms of this test are used depending on the age of the child, from around 18 months upwards (to adulthood).

With all these tests it can sometimes take more than one appointment to record all the information we need. The length of time a child is able or willing to concentrate on the task may be limited. Children also sometimes need more time to learn what to do. If we need to arrange more appointments for your child we will explain why.

Hearing aids

The department fits digital hearing aids which are worn behind the ear with either an earmould or an open-fitting thin ‘life’ tube depending on the level of your hearing. When your hearing is assessed the audiologist will discuss with you which hearing aid will be best for you.

hearing aid1      hearing aid2                     

The hearing aid fitting is routinely verified using Real Ear Measurement – this means that measurements are taken to check how the hearing aid is affecting the sound that reaches your ear drum, and verifying that in so doing the hearing aid is meeting the target of what you need to hear. This measurement is crucial to achieving the best results for you and at some hospitals and private hearing aid dispensers is not used routinely.

At your fitting appointment you will be given all the information you need for the maintenance and use of your hearing aids and all our information leaflets are also available by clicking here.

There are useful videos on the internet from C2Hear Online - click here to find out more.  

To find out more about hearing aids go to www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk

Hearing Aids are issued free to patients on a loan basis but if they are lost or damaged a charge will be made for their replacement. Batteries are supplied free of charge.

Loop Programme

Your hearing aid can be set up to include a Loop ( sometimes called 'Telecoil' or 'T') programme. This programme can be used wherever you see this sign (it can be in various colours).

Loop sign x300

Loop systems are commonly found in public places such as churches, banks and theatres. The loop system can help by giving a direct link to the sound source through your hearing aids and help cut out the background noise.

This setting can also be used with 'hearing aid compatible' telephones. See the Hearing Aids:Telephone Use leaflet for more details.

If your aid is programmed with a loop programme your audiologist will have shown you how to select it, or you can refer to the hearing aid instruction booklet you were given.

Problems with your hearing aid

Have a look at Troubleshooting your hearing aid

If your NHS hearing aid was fitted by this department and you have any difficulties with it you can contact us directly (it is not necessary to get your GP to refer you).

If your hearing aid was fitted by another provider you will need to return to them for follow up.

24 Hour Repair Service - for patients whose aids were fitted by this department:

Leave the hearing aid and brown Hearing Aid and Battery Issuing Record Book at Reception, Level 4, Main Outpatients, Milton Keynes Hospital (you may ask someone else to do this for you). Whoever drops off the hearing aid will be asked to complete a simple form to tell us what the problem is and the aid will be ready for collection approximately 24 hours later (excluding weekends and bank holidays).

Troubleshooting your hearing aid

No sound or reduced sound from the aid

  1. Check the aid is switched on properly and that it is not on the loop programme
  2. Put in a fresh battery
  3. Make sure the battery is in the correct way
  4. Make sure the earmould tube, the thin tube or the domed tip is not blocked
  5. Does the tube need changing? If it is discoloured or becoming hard then it does. Instructions for retubing can be found here
  6. Check there is no moisture in the tubing
  7. Check that the tubing is not squashed

Feedback (whistling) when the aid is in the ear

  1. Does the tube need changing? If it is discoloured or becoming hard then it does. Instructions for retubing can be found here
  2. Have your ears checked for wax
  3. Is the earmould or  thin tube and dome correctly inserted?
  4. Does your earmould fit well? If it is loose you may need a new one
  5. Is the earmould split? If so you will need a new one

Hearing aid making a buzzing noise

You may have switched to the loop programme by accident.

Uncomfortable ear mould

Is the earmould correctly inserted?

Getting help

SARC (Sensory Advice Resource Centre Milton Keynes) provide support with the following:

  • Tubing, minor repairs, ear mould cleaning and battery replacement
  • Individual training sessions for you or your carer on how to maintain and retube your hearing aids.

How to contact the SARC team:

SARC, 275 Upper Fourth Street, Witan Court, Central Milton Keynes, MK9 1EH

Telephone: 01908 401135

SMS: 07803 452617

Fax: 01908 557609

Email: sarcmk@bid.org.uk

Skype: sarc.office (BSL on Thursdays and Fridays)

Website: www.sarc-bid.org.uk

C2Hear Online

There are useful videos on the internet from C2Hear Online - click here to find out more.  

24 Hour Repair Service - for patients whose aids were fitted by this department

Leave the hearing aid and brown Hearing Aid and Battery Issuing Record Book at Reception, Level 4, Main Outpatients, Milton Keynes Hospital (you may ask someone else to do this for you). Whoever drops off the hearing aid will be asked to complete a simple form to tell us what the problem is and the aid will be ready for collection approximately 24 hours later (excluding weekends and bank holidays).

Repair Appointments

For repairs to your NHS hearing aid not covered by the SARC team, or for any concerns regarding your hearing, you may contact the Audiology Department directly (it is not necessary to get your GP to refer you).

If your hearing aid was fitted by another provider you will need to return to them for follow up.

Tinnitus and hyperacusis

Tinnitus is a noise that you hear in your ears or your head that other people cannot hear.

It is a common condition, 10 -15% of the population experience tinnitus at some stage in their lives.

We still do not know for certain what causes tinnitus, but we do know that it is not a disease or a life-threatening condition.

As of now there is no medication or operation that has been proven to stop tinnitus.

Further information about Tinnitus can be found on the British Tinnitus Association website www.tinnitus.org.uk or from Action on Hearing Loss www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk

The Tinnitus Clinic:

Getting referred: Your GP will need to refer you to an ENT Consultant so that they can investigate your tinnitus from a medical aspect before you are seen in the Tinnitus Clinic

What will happen: There are different ways to help you cope well with your tinnitus and to minimize its effect on your life, and if you come to the tinnitus clinic we will be able to help you decide what will work best for you. The options could include - 

  1. sound therapy
  2. tinnitus counselling
  3. relaxation advice
  4. the fitting of hearing aids or other devices

The Specialist Audiologist who sees you at the clinic may ask you to use equipment or follow specific instructions. The number and frequency of appointments will vary with each person, but it is very important to attend all appointments that you are given.

Patients with additional needs

Things we can do to make access easy for anyone with additional needs:

  1. Arrange the time of the appointment to fit in with the patient’s specific needs.
  2. Provide a modified way of testing.
  3. Arrange pre-appointment visits to help the patient cope with the experience.
  4. Provide interpreters when necessary.
  5. Allow extra time in the appointment.
  6. Visit the patient at home if they are completely unable to travel to the hospital – the GP must complete a referral proforma if a home visit is required.
  7. Provide easy read appointment letters and leaflets ( large print on request). For easy read leaflets click here
  8. Provide easy read reports for patients with learning disabilities to show them what happened at their appointment and to make it easier for them to share this with their supporters.
  9. Provide a leaflet with photos of what to expect at the appointment - designed specifically for children who have Autistic Spectrum Condition.

Down Syndrome

People with Down Syndrome should have their hearing tested every 2 years (as recommended in the Down Syndrome Medical Interest Group guidelines). The GP will need to refer them to us in the first instance but then we have a robust system in place to make sure they are invited back to see us at the right time.

The Children’s Hearing Assessment Unit (CHAU)

The CHAU sees: 

  1. Children from newborn babies to school-leaving age.
  2. Children with additional needs .
  3. Children who are at increased risk of permanent hearing loss are offered regular hearing tests to check for any changes in hearing.

For more information head to the CHAU webpage

Leaflets and information

All of our leaflets and guidance can be found here.

If there is anything missing please contact us. 

audiology@mkuh.nhs.uk

Phone : 01908 995199