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Audiology

The term audiology refers to the science of hearing.

A much broader definition of audiology is the prevention and identification of hearing loss, which includes:

  • Evaluating and diagnosing hearing disorders
  • Selecting and evaluating hearing aids
  • Rehabilitation of individuals with hearing impairment.

When to see your GP

See your GP if you’re having problems with your hearing. If you lose your hearing suddenly, in one or both ears, you must see your GP as soon as possible.

Your GP can check for any problems and may refer you to an audiologist (hearing specialist) or an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor for further investigation.

Services offered

Our team provides a comprehensive range of services including:

Wax removal

NHSGGC Audiology Services do not remove wax from ears. Please ensure your ears are clear before attending any Audiology appointments.

Read the guidance on how to manage a build-up of ear wax.

Hearing aid services

Hearing aids

If you have hearing problems, you may be able to wear a hearing aid. About 1.4 million people regularly use hearing aids in the UK, and many more would benefit from them.

A hearing aid is an electronic device that consists of a microphone, an amplifier, a loudspeaker and a battery. It increases the volume of sound entering your ear, so you can hear things more clearly.

The microphone picks up sound, which is made louder by the amplifier. Hearing aids are fitted with devices that can distinguish between background noise, such as traffic, and foreground noise, such as conversation.

Modern hearing aids are very small and discreet, and are comfortable to wear. All behind-the-ear NHS hearing aids are digital.

Hearing aids help improve hearing, but don’t give you your hearing back. They’re suitable for most people, but may be less effective for people with profound hearing impairment or certain conditions. Your GP or audiologist (hearing specialist) can advise you about whether a hearing aid is suitable for you.

If a hearing aid is recommended, an audiologist may take an impression of your ear so the hearing aid fits you perfectly or may show you an open fit hearing aid. The hearing aid will be adjusted to suit your level of hearing impairment. You’ll also be shown how to use and care for it.

If you have hearing loss in both ears you may be offered two hearing aids, to be worn as a pair.

Support for Hearing Aid Use

Once you have had your hearing aid fitted, you may benefit from viewing some of the following video clips, they will offer or reintroduce information that may support you to successfully fit, use and adjust to your hearing aid.

These C2Hear video clips were developed by a research team from Nottingham (NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre, University of Nottingham, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and a Public Patient Involvement panel). A large research study of over 200 hearing aid users showed that C2Hear improved knowledge of hearing aids and communication, hearing aid handling skills and hearing aid use. Hearing aid users reported they found them highly useful and enjoyable, improving confidence in using hearing aids and communicating with other people.

Assistive Listening Devices

There are devices which we call environmental aids or assistive listening devices. These can help with things such as the television and telephone. The NHS does not provide these but they may be available through the local Social Work Department or they can be purchased. You can ask Audiology for more information about assistive listening devices.

Hearing Aid Repairs

Hearing aid repairs are available at all Audiology hospital sites. Repairs are carried out by appointment only. They can be arranged by telephone/email or by visiting the Audiology reception. Please note there is no walk in repair service available across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

A postal service is available for repairs (please post your hearing aid & yellow battery book to your local Audiology Service using the address given, you are required to pay postage to the hospital but not for the return).

Please ensure your hearing aid is correctly addressed and packaged for transit through the Royal Mail system, and please be aware that delivery times mean you are without your hearing aid whilst it is in transit to/from us.

Batteries

Batteries are provided free of charge to NHS GG&C hearing aid patients. Batteries can be obtained from your local Audiology Service or from some Health Centres.

Postal Service available for batteries (please post your yellow battery book to your local Audiology clinic, you are required to pay postage to the hospital but not for the return).

Battery Hazard

Batteries can be dangerous if swallowed and should be stored at all times out of the reach of young or vulnerable people. DO NOT dispose of batteries in fire as they may explode. DO NOT attempt to recharge.

Tinnitus services

How to access our service

You can ask your GP for a referral to our tinnitus clinic or your GP may feel that a referral to the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) department may be more appropriate.

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a sound you hear in your ears, often described as a buzzing, ringing or humming. Occasionally it can be musical, this is known as musical hallucinations. It can be constant or come and go and can occur in one or both ears.

Tinnitus is extremely common, most people will experience it at some point in their lives. About 10% of the population have persistent tinnitus and approximately 5% of the population have troublesome tinnitus. For most people tinnitus goes away by itself as the brain habituates.

It is often associated with hearing loss or exposure to loud noise, but can be a symptom of other ear conditions. It is rarely an indication of a serious disorder, but see your GP if you think you have it.

What causes it?

The actual cause of tinnitus is unknown, however typically arises from a mental or physical change, not always related to hearing.

Prevention

Tinnitus can’t always be prevented, however there things you can do to help. Information is available at www.plugem.co.uk

Tinnitus Treatment

Often some information and explanation about tinnitus is enough to aid habituation, however there are different management strategies which we can use to develop an appropriate individual plan to help manage your tinnitus. Because everyone’s tinnitus is different, the treatments can be different too. The decision aid provides tinnitus care options available to you.

Hyperacusis

Hyperacusis is characterised by an increased sensitivity to everyday sounds. These sounds can be intrusively loud, uncomfortable or even painful. It is thought that around 2% of the adult population have some degree of hyperacusis. Most people with hyperacusis will have tinnitus.

Treatment options for hyperacusis include sound therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

For more information on hyperacusis:

Further information about tinnitus

Balance services

Adult Balance Service

Our Audiologists undertake assessments for people who have balance disorders. A referral from your GP to an ENT Consultant is required to be able to attend our Vestibular Service. Attendance at the Balance Service enables us to establish the extent, site and cause of balance problems and provide up-to-date and individualised rehabilitation programmes.

What is a Balance Disorder?

It is a disturbance in your balance system which can cause you to feel: unsteady, off balance or have a sensation of spinning.

When you experience a balance disorder you will often have difficulty maintaining your balance and you may experience a sensation where you feel as though the room is spinning. You might stagger when you walk or even be bedbound for a period of time. Some people also experience nausea and vomiting along with fear and anxiety. The symptoms may appear and disappear over long or short periods of time depending upon the cause of the balance disorder.You may then find that certain movements make you feel dizzy, for example, turning your head quickly, bending down or walking on uneven surfaces.

At your first appointment your Audiologist will discuss your balance difficulties, ask for basic details of your medical history and perform various balance tests. The tests done will be based on your individual symptoms and health status and as a result not everyone will require every test. As balance services are not available at every site, you may not be offered an appointment at the hospital or clinic closest to your home.

Much of your balance rehabilitation will require you to follow our recommendations, and sometimes exercises, at home over a period of time. This may mean that you require several visits to our service.

Further Information

More information about some of the causes of balance disorders, visit:

Not all sites provide all services, but if you are referred to the service, you will be sent to the most suitable site.

How to access the service

You can access the NHS Audiology service:

  • Via your GP: Visit your GP practice and request that your GP sends us a referral, if appropriate
  • By self-referral: If you already wear a hearing aid issued by NHSGGC you may be able to self-refer into the service, so please contact your local Audiology Department.

Please ensure your ears are free from wax prior to attending any Audiology appointment.

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