Referral to an Audiology department
Now that you have been referred to your local Audiology department, you may like to know a little more about what they do – and what you can expect to happen during your appointment there.
Audiology departments or clinics are concerned with issues involving hearing and hearing disorders. They also see patients who experience problems with balance, as these can also originate from within the ear. A professional who specialises in the testing, monitoring and diagnosis of hearing and balance disorders is known as an audiologist
When you are referred to an Audiology department, you will be offered an appointment for an assessment. After this assessment, your audiologist will be able to tell you more about your hearing – and about the possibility of using hearing aids, if they feel they would help you.
The NHS hearing aid service has undergone major changes in the past few years and now offers modern digital hearing aids free of charge as part of its service. Unfortunately, the high level of demand for digital hearing aids has led to increased waiting times in many areas. However, since the end of 2008, all NHS providers have been required to meet a maximum 18 week ‘referral to treatment’ target.
If you and your audiologist agree that hearing aids are the way forward, you may be asked to return at a later date to have them fitted (a two-stage appointment). However, sometimes it’s possible to have your hearing aids supplied and fitted immediately following your hearing assessment - in a single ‘assess and fit’ session. Your audiologist should tell you whether this is possible when you arrive for your appointment (it usually depends on the each department’s local policy) – but you may wish to read about both here.
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