Specialist Audiology Services

A hearing therapist will work with adults who have hearing loss, tinnitus and other associated disorders, such as hyperacusis. They provide counselling to help with the psychological and emotional effects of auditory problems, as well as providing practical support and advice.

Before the appointment

  • What are the main areas of difficulty for you?
  • How have your difficulties affected your personal relationships and your work/social/home life?
  • Have you found anything that helps with your difficulties?
  • Have your ears checked for wax by your GP or practice nurse before your appointment.

At the appointment

At your first appointment we will do a comprehensive assessment of your needs and then create a tailored programme of rehabilitation to support you. The appointment will last about an hour. During this appointment, we

  • A hearing therapist will discuss and explain reasons for your hearing difficulties.
  • Discuss strategies to help reduce difficulties that may arise at home / work / socially.
  • Discuss your work environment; equipment that is available, strategies and your rights.
  • Discuss use of equipment to help at home e.g. doorbells, television and telephone.
  • Help you develop coping skills for dealing with tinnitus and sensitivity to loud sounds.
  • Information on local and national organisations,
  • Useful websites, leaflets and literature available.

After the appointment

  • You will be able to put into practice a tailor-made programme in communication training, lip-reading and relaxation (as appropriate).
  • Some patients may require a follow-up appointment to assess any further support that may be needed.

Tinnitus is the medical term for the perception of sound that does not have an external source. The sound could be ringing, buzzing, humming or even more complex sounds, such as music. Sometimes the tinnitus beats in time with the person’s pulse, which is known as pulsatile tinnitus.

NHS Shropshire Audiology offers a range of support services for people with tinnitus. If you are concerned about tinnitus then the first step is to arrange an appointment with your GP.

Your GP may arrange for you to see an Ear, Nose & Throat Consultant and / or an Audiologist who may be able to help you manage the tinnitus more effectively.

There is more information about tinnitus on the Tinnitus UK website (Home – Tinnitus UK)

Causes of Single Sided Deafness

There are a number of reasons why someone develops a Single Sided Deafness (SSD). These reasons may include

  • Congenital factors e. hearing loss develops before or shortly after birth
  • Ototoxic medications that damage the structures in the inner ear
  • Viruses
  • Vascular causes
  • Noise exposure e.g. shooting
  • Head Trauma

Sometimes there is no apparent reason and the degree of hearing loss can range from mild, moderate, severe or profound.

Impact of Single Sided Deafness

Someone with a SSD will not hear speech or other sounds on the affected side. The impact of SSD can include,

  • Difficulties locating where sounds are coming from.
  • Hearing conversations in background noise or group situations e.g. meetings or parties.
  • Hearing traffic and lacking confidence when crossing roads.
  • Difficulties with maintaining gait or balance

Management Options for Single Sided Deafness

The first step is to see your GP who should refer you to see an ENT Consultant, who will be able to explore the medical reasons behind the hearing loss.

An ENT Consultant will be able to make a referral to an Audiologist who can carry out a hearing test and discuss what types of hearing aids may be beneficial.

A Hearing Therapist can also advise you on hearing tactics and coping strategies for managing SSD whilst also signposting other organisations who may be able to offer further advice and support.

NHS Shropshire Audiology provide specialist Vestibular Testing for patients referred by an Ear, Nose & Throat Consultant.

Before your appointment

  • Think about your balance problems and be prepared to describe your experiences specifically.
  • Make a note of other health conditions or symptoms you have, even if you don’t feel they are related to your balance problem.
  • Consider any other changes that have happened in your lifestyle recently, especially anything that may have led to increased stress or anxiety.
  • Bring a list of any medications that you are currently taking on a regular basis.
  • Have your ears checked for wax by your GP or practice nurse before your appointment.
  • Ensure that you do not consume any alcohol, recreational drugs and medication specifically for your balance problems for 48 hours before your appointment.
  • Please make sure that you do not use a eye makeup on the day of your appointment, as this may affect the test results.

At the appointment

You will be asked about your balance problems and how it has impacted on your lifestyle. A medical history questionnaire will be completed, as well as the following tests,

  • Pure Tone Audiometry – a standard hearing test and involves pressing a button when you hear different tones of varying intensity and pitch.
  • Tympanometry – to check that your tympanic membrane (ear drum) is functioning correctly.
  • Videonystagmography – goggles with infrared cameras will be used to monitor eye movements as you follow a coloured light in a dark room.
  • Caloric Test – eye movements are monitored as each ear is stimulated by warm and cool water.
  • Positional Tests – eye movements are monitored as you are moved from a seated to a lying position.

After the appointment

There a slight possibility that your will feel unsteady or tired. You should make arrangements for someone to collect you after the appointment. Any unsteadiness will only be temporary and you should feel back to normal the following day.

We will arrange for you to see an Ear, Nose & Throat Consultant to discuss the results.