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Audiology

Our audiology service provides assessment of hearing and balance, as well as rehabilitation and support for both children and adults across Birmingham, Sandwell and surrounding areas.

We also manage the largest newborn hearing screening programme in England and provide maintenance of audiology testing equipment to other audiology departments nationwide through the West Birmingham Technical Audiology Service.

Audiology team first among equals with national accreditation

The culmination of many months of hard work has seen the Audiology Department at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust become only the seventh NHS trust in the country to gain a coveted national accreditation for the provision of routine and complex adult audiology services. In addition, the service is the first in theWest Midlands region to gain accreditation for paediatric audiology.

The department has been formally granted accreditation against the Improving Quality In Physiological Service (IQIPS) Standard by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS), the sole national accreditation body to assess organisations that provide certification, testing, inspection and calibration services. The IQIPS programme aims to improve service quality, care and safety for patients undergoing physiological diagnostics and treatment.

In order to meet the IQIPS standard, the audiology team was involved in self-assessment and external peer assessment against a set of 26 standards to assess accurately the level of performance in relation to established standards and to implement ways to continuously improve. The standards cover patient experience; safety; facilities, resource and workforce; and clinical criteria.

For more information about disabled access for this service, please click here.

Team

Our multi-disciplinary team is made up of clinical scientists, audiologists, assistant audiologists, and administrative and clerical support.

Service Manager

  • Dr Suki Dhillon, Consultant Clinical Scientist

Head of Audiology

  • Joanne Lodge

Hearing Services Centre

Clinical scientists in Audiology:

  • Claire Danks
  • Emily Halliwell
  • Terri Harding
  • Kathryn Keyes
  • Andrew Rutter

Audiologists:

  • Fiona Bowen
  • Maryam Faruki
  • Wacas Gafoor
  • Karen Harris
  • Mark Hassall
  • Shahrior Mian
  • Shameela Munir
  • Paramjit Rai
  • Sharon Thomas
  • Helen Walter
  • Phil Ypres-Smith

Assistant Audiologists:

  • Angela Jesson

Lyng Centre for Health and Social Care

Deputy Head of Audiology:

  • Rebecca Few

Audiologists:

  • Rajpreet Achall
  • Cath Beardes
  • Rachel Butler
  • Jane Cartwright
  • Wendy Field
  • Annette Hill
  • Carl Longden
  • Kim Wright

Assistant Audiologists:

  • Katy Holden
  • Sharon Robinson
  • Linsey Smith

West Birmingham Technical Audiology Service (WBTAS)

  • Andrew Challis

Newborn Hearing Screening Programme
Dr Suki Dhillon (Audiology)
Dr Helen Robertson (Medical)
Sarah Murphy (Head of NHSP)

Services

Audiology in Birmingham is based at the Hearing Services Centre, at City Hospital, beside the Birmingham Treatment Centre. We also have outreach clinics based at Boldmere Health Clinic in Sutton Coldfield and the Apollo Surgery in Great Barr. The audiology service in Sandwell is based at the Lyng Health Centre for Social Care, in the centre of West Bromwich, with outreach clinics at Rowley Regis Hospital and Neptune Health Park in Tipton.

Purpose-built facilities for hearing assessment are at both the Hearing Services Centre and the Audiology Suite at the Lyng Centre.

Services for adults

Hearing assessments and hearing aids
Anyone who is concerned about their hearing should visit their GP. If you would like to do a quick hearing check at home click here for an online hearing check from Action on Hearing Loss.

If you do not have a history of problems with your ears you can be referred to the audiology service by your GP for a hearing assessment and hearing aid fitting, if this is appropriate. In some cases we can perform the hearing assessment and fit the hearing aids on the same day.

If you have had ear problems in the past or do not meet the criteria to be referred directly to the service, you will be referred to see a consultant in the ear, nose and throat (ENT) department first. You will have a hearing test carried out by an audiologist and the consultant may then refer you the audiology service for hearing aids. You will then have an appointment to have the hearing aid(s) fitted and a follow-up appointment to make sure you are benefiting from the hearing aid(s).

All patients who need hearing aids will be shown how to use and care for them, and will be given information on how to get used to wearing a hearing aid, how often to wear it and where to get replacement batteries. You will also be given a record book with information on what we have done for you during your appointments.

We can also arrange referrals to other specialist services including adult cochlear implants and bone anchored hearing aids.

For links to more information about using and maintaining hearing aids click on the patient information tab.

Tinnitus services
We offer assessment for people with tinnitus, a condition where people hear noises in their ears or head when there is nothing around making that noise. We offer advice on practical ways to cope with tinnitus, support to help people manage their tinnitus more effectively, hearing aids and other sound therapy for tinnitus. For more information about tinnitus click on the Patient Information tab.

Balance services
If you have a problem with balance or dizziness, your consultant may refer you to our service for a balance assessment. We use a range of tests to find out if the cause is a problem with the balance organs (vestibular system) in the ear. Depending on the results, you may then be offered a course of treatment such as eye and head exercises or head manoeuvres, and may be offered follow-up appointments or phone calls to check on your progress.

Relaxation classes
We provide short courses of relaxation sessions for patients with hearing loss, balance problems and/or tinnitus. Here, we discuss the effects of stress on the body, the benefits of relaxation, the impact of sleep deprivation on the body and ways of improving sleeping habits. The classes give our patients the opportunity to learn and develop a variety of relaxation techniques including short relaxes, breathing exercises, coping strategies and deep relaxation. Courses are run on either on a one-to-one basis or in a group of no more than six people.

Home visits
If you need a hearing aid assessment but are housebound, we can arrange a home visit. Your GP will need to refer you for this service.

Services for children

Hearing assessments and hearing aids
Babies and children can be referred to us by health visitors, speech and language therapists and GPs for a hearing assessment if there is concern about their hearing, or they may be picked up through the hearing screening service. The tests we do will depend on the child’s age, but usually involves either teaching them to listen for a sound, or playing a game such as putting a peg on a board when they hear a sound. Newborn babies have a specialist test whilst they are sleeping.

Babies and children who need hearing aids are referred to us by their ear, nose and throat (ENT) consultant for assessment and hearing aid fitting. We give full instructions on how to use and care for the hearing aid(s) and have regular follow-up appointments with the child for the first few months, and then  once a year when they are managing well.

We give parents advice on how to help their child get used to wearing a hearing aid, how often it should be worn and where to get replacement batteries, as well as a record book with information on what we have done for the child during their appointments.

Newborn Hearing Screening
We manage the largest newborn hearing screening programme in England and provide screening for babies born in Sandwell, west Birmingham and north Birmingham. The NHS Newborn Hearing Screening Programme (NHSP) offers hearing screening for babies within the first few weeks of life, with the aim of identifying hearing loss early so that the child can be given the appropriate support at an early stage. For more information about the Newborn Hearing Screening Programme click here.

Hearing assessment for newborn babies
Babies who are referred on from the newborn hearing screen from City, Sandwell and Good Hope Hospitals are seen for a full hearing assessment in purpose-built modern facilities in the Birmingham Treatment Centre at City Hospital. A range of tests are done while the baby is sleeping to find out if they have hearing loss and if so, the degree and type of hearing loss. Babies diagnosed with hearing loss then receive support from the ENT department, paediatrics, audiology and education (provided by the local authority).

Sandwell school screening
Audiology at the Lyng Centre provides a hearing screening service for all children attending Sandwell schools. The screening is undertaken in school during the child’s first year in infant school (reception class).

Drop-in clinics for hearing aid repairs, batteries and earmould re-tubing 

If you need batteries or re-tubing, or have any problems with your hearing aids, you can come to our drop-in clinics. No appointment is needed, so you may have to wait to be seen. Audiologists can also offer you advice and answer any questions that you may have. Please bring your record book with you when attending one of these clinics.

You can also book a hearing aid repair appointment at Rowley Regis Hospital and Neptune Health Park by contacting them to arrange this (click on the Contacts tab). If you only need batteries, there may be a battery centre closer to you.

 

Patient Stories

Have you been a patient in the Audiology Department? If you would like to share your story contact the Communications Department on 0121 507 5303 or email swbh.comms@nhs.net

 

Patient Information

Patient information leaflets
Balance Assessment
Brandt-Daroff exercises
City Hospital Hearing Services Centre
Hearing Aid Battery Centres Directory 
Your child’s visit to the Hearing Services Centre

Click here to download advice from the Department of Health on how to use your hearing aid.

Special equipment for home and work
If you need help or advice regarding special equipment in the home (e.g. telephones and smoke alarms) or at work please contact the following services according to where you live:

Birmingham Residents                                                   Sandwell Residents
BID Services                                                                    Ideal For All
The Deaf Cultural Centre                                                   Independent Living Centre
Ladywood Road                                                               100 Oldbury Road
Birmingham                                                                     Smethwick
B16 8SZ                                                                          B66 1JET

Phone: 0121 246 6100                                                      Phone: 0121 558 5555
Minicom: 0121 246 6101                                                   Minicom: 0121 565 7967
Fax: 0121 246 6125                                                          Fax: 0121 565 7973
Website: www.bid.org.uk                                                   Website: www.idealforall.co.uk

For queries relating to employment and support at work, Access to Work can be contacted directly through your local Job Centre Plus or using the details below:

Jobcentre Plus
Access to Work Operational Support Unit
Alexandra House
377 Cowbridge Road East
Cardiff
CF5 1WU

Phone: 02920 423 291
Minicom: 02920 644 886
Fax: 02920 423 342
Email: atwosu.cardiff@jobcentreplus.gsi.gov.uk
Website:
www.direct.gov.uk

Useful websites

Action On Hearing Loss (previously Royal National Institute for the Deaf)
www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk

Birmingham and District Tinnitus Group
www.tinnitusbham.org.uk

British Cochlear Implant Group
www.bcig.org.uk

British Tinnitus Association
www.tinnitus.org.uk

Deafblind UK
www.deafblind.org.uk

Hearing Dogs for Deaf People
www.hearingdogs.org.uk

Ménière’s Society
www.menieres.org.uk

National Deaf Children’s Society
www.ncds.org.uk

Newborn Hearing Screening Programme
http://hearing.screening.nhs.uk/

Sense (for deafblind people)
www.sense.org.uk

Typetalk
www.typetalk.org

 

 

Contacts

Hearing Services CentreCity Hospital
0121 507 4875

Lyng Centre for Health and Social Care, Neptune Health Park and Rowley Regis Hospital clinics
0121 612 2366

Boldmere Hearing Clinic
0121 507 5417

Newborn Hearing Screening Programme
0121 507 5902

Mincom users can contact us using Typetalk by using the prefix 18001 before the phone number. For more information about Typetalk click here.

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