Audiology

The Audiology Department is responsible for diagnosing and managing disorders of the ear. Specifically, we diagnose and treat hearing loss and other disorders associated with the ear, such as tinnitus or speech processing disorders. While the Department is financed by Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, the staff and their training are provided by York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Audiology

Most people come into contact with the Audiology Department for hearing aid fittings. In the NHS, digital hearing aids are fitted routinely and are on a par with good quality, private hearing aids. They usually go behind the ear and while some need a mould to deliver the sound into the ear, most people can be fitted with discrete thin tubing; this is all dependent on the severity of the hearing loss.

The Audiology Department at Harrogate District Hospital provides a diverse range of services. These include:

Adult diagnostics

We provide a variety of diagnostic tests within Audiology depending on the individuals requirements.
These may include Pure tone audiometry, tympanometry which assesses middle ear function, Speech audiometry, otoacoustic emissions and Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR).
The Audiologists may also refer patients to Bradford Royal Infirmary for Cochlear Implant assessments and York Hospital for Bone Anchored Hearing Aids.

Assessment and management of adults and children with learning difficulties/complex needs

We do not have a specific service to meet these needs due to the small number of people requiring such a service. For now, our senior paediatric and adult rehabilitation team are able to test people with additional needs and we will create appropriate clinic time and space to cater for such patients. We are looking at the extent of need and may have a dedicated clinic in the future.

Hearing aid fitting

Hearing aids for adults and children are digital and are fitted with peer-reviewed amplification targets to ensure correct volume and clarity of sound. In all cases we use real ear measures to test the hearing aid while it’s in the user’s ear. If this is not possible, we use a test ear.

Hearing aids can be set up with various programmes to help in specific situations, such as when there is constant background noise or where a loop system is installed (on your TV for example). Nearly all the aids that we fit are Bluetooth-compatible. This means that there is the potential for streaming speech and music from devices such as a phone or iPod.

Hearing aid repair

These sessions cater for NHS aids and deal with everyday hearing aid problems. As well as sessions at Harrogate District Hospital and Ripon Community Hospital, we also run outreach clinics in a range of community locations for basic hearing aid maintenance such as hearing aid batteries, retubing and repairs. Please note we are unable to make any adjustments to the output of the hearing aids at these clinics.

Location Times Appointment required?
Harrogate District Hospital Monday: 2-5pm
Tuesday: 9am-12pm
Thursday: 9am-12pm
Friday: 9-11.30am
No
Ripon Community Hospital Wednesday: 12.10-5pm Yes
Age Concern Cliff House, Knaresborough First Friday of each month: 3.30-4pm No
Church Lane Surgery, Boroughbridge First Friday of each month: 1.30-2:30pm No
Chapeltown Friday: 12-12.30pm No
Alwoodley Medical Practice Telephone 01423 553320 to arrange a time Yes

Hearing aid batteries are available at some local GP surgeries. Batteries are available from the Audiology Department by post. Please send us a stamped addressed envelope.

Hearing aid replacement

If your hearing aids are lost or damaged through neglect, we can replace them but will charge to cover this cost. The current charge is £80 per hearing aid. Children under 18 years old and some adult patients may be exempt from the charge. A copy of our replacement aid policy can be requested from the Department.

Home visits

We are able to provide home visits to patients who are housebound and unable to attend hospital appointments. Home visits take much longer than hospital visits so we ask your GP to inform us in writing if you are housebound. If you are physically able to attend hospital but can’t get a taxi or a friend/relative to bring you, it might be able to arrange transport through the ambulance service. Please speak to your GP for more information.

We can carry our hearing tests, hearing aid fittings, reassessments and impressions during home visits but we are unable to make adjustments to the output of the hearing aids. If adjustments are required, you can arrange to post the aid to us or arrange for a relative or friend to bring it into the Department during a repair clinic.

Newborn hearing screening

We assess and diagnose hearing loss in babies referred from the newborn hearing screening programme. We carry out testing to determine the extent and type of hearing loss and arrange further medical assessment and treatment. We also liaise with non-NHS services to provide support for parents of children with hearing loss.

Tinnitus assessment and rehabilitation

Some people find that they hear a noise in their ears or head which won’t go away. This noise, called tinnitus, is nothing more than a mild inconvenience for most people. However, for others it can be very troublesome. There are several causes including hearing loss or suffering head trauma, but stress and anxiety are also very potent triggers.

Unfortunately, there are no pills to take or surgery to undergo to alleviate the noise. However there are many treatment options such as hearing aids, maskers or simple self-help psychological techniques. Their effectiveness depends on the willingness of the patient to try them out. Assessment might involve a hearing test and one or two questionnaires to allow the therapist to work out a treatment strategy.

Location

The Department is based at Harrogate District Hospital, but we attend Ripon Community Hospital three days a week.

The main Department at Harrogate District Hospital can be found in the main Outpatient Department on the ground floor, adjacent to the north waiting room.

Audiology services at Ripon Community Hospital are based in the main building on the first floor.

Our outreach clinics are held at:

Age Concern Cliff House

1 Hilton Lane

Knaresborough

HG5 8BX

Church Lane Surgery

Boroughbridge

YO51 9BD

Chapeltown Health CentreSpencer Place

Leeds

LS7 4BB

Referrals

We accept referrals from GPs, ENT consultants, paediatricians, health visitors and speech and language therapists.

Key staff

Head of Audiology for Harrogate, York, and Scarborough: Kate Iley
Clinical Scientist, Paediatric Lead for Audiology: Dr Anthony O’Connell
Lead Audiologist at Harrogate District Hospital: Catherine Walsh
Highly Specialised Audiologist Adult Rehabilitation: Christine Brindle

Useful links

Patient Leaflets