To help you improve the care of your patients with hearing loss, we’ve provided answers to some of the questions you may have.
Speak to your manager to find out if anything is already being done to identify and support patients with hearing loss, and to find out about the availability of appropriate training and communication equipment. If nothing exists currently, discuss action points with your manager.
Check whether anything is already being done. If not, consider trialling something in your department, which could then be rolled out to other departments. Discuss internally and with your audiology department what is required, what can be done internally and whether external support is needed. Audiology should also know of any local hearing aid support projects. If external support is needed, contact Action on Hearing Loss using the contact details on this page.
List hearing aids in the ‘What to bring into hospital’ section of the Trust’s website, patient information leaflets and pre-admission letters.
- Make sure that information about hearing aids is recorded in patient notes and at staff handover.
- Offer patients storage boxes to help keep their hearing aids safe in hospital.
- Display posters highlighting that storage boxes are available, to encourage staff, patients and relatives to use them.
There are plenty of things that can be done at no cost, such as following communication tips and signposting staff, patients and relatives to Action on Hearing Loss for information and support.
Your audiology department may be able to offer training and access to hearing aid maintenance equipment, and they may be able to provide communication equipment on loan.
There are costs involved if screening and communication equipment are required or training is delivered externally. But spending on training and/or equipment can save money elsewhere – for example, using the Sonido personal listener can reduce a patient’s stay hospital and save money that way. Spending approximately £100 on a Sonido personal listener that can be used across a whole ward could save approximately £300 per bed, per night, if a patient can be discharged earlier.
Yes, volunteers can be used if this is your Trust policy. Your Trust may already have volunteers who could be trained, or Action on Hearing Loss or other local charities may be able to provide volunteers.
Follow the communication tips and encourage others to do so too – effective communication is crucial. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has included the communication tips in the latest edition of their ‘Nursing essentials’ pocket guide book.
You can advise a patient and their relatives that they may have hearing loss and encourage them to go to their GP for a referral to hearing services. You can also signpost them to Action on Hearing Loss for information and support.
Hearing loops should be tested a regular basis. Use the Sonido personal listener turned to the ‘T’ setting and the headphones (if non-hearing aid user) or the neckloop (if hearing aid user). Ensure the loop system is turned on and check to see if it is working and also where people need to stand to get the best from it.
If the loop isn’t working, seek advice from your hearing services provider and check whether there is a maintenance contract covering repairs. Contact the supplier or the Action on Hearing Loss Information Line.
No, because their hearing services provider will already have a record of their hearing loss. If a patient with hearing aids appears to be struggling to hear you and basic maintenance has not helped, advise them to go back to their hearing services provider to get their hearing aid checked.
It’s important to know whether a hearing aid is private or NHS, because you may invalidate the warranty on a private hearing aid if you try to fix it in some way. Ask the patient, and if they are not sure, check with your hearing services provider.
If it is a private hearing aid, it’s best not to touch it but to advise the patient to go back to their hearing services provider and use the Sonido personal listener to aid communication in the meantime. If a patient only needs a battery, you could provide one from the maintenance kit and ask the patient or relative to change the battery themselves. You could also advise the patient that hearing aids are available free on the NHS, via a referral from their GP.
If in doubt, ask your hearing service provider for support or contact the Action on Hearing Loss Information Line.
Contact your hearing services provider and ask them for the items required, or contact Action on Hearing Loss or other local charities from which the items can be purchased.
The listener, neckloop and headphones can be cleaned using Clinell cleansing wipes. NHS Trusts can purchase disposable headphone covers to cover the earpieces.
Yes, if they have a 3.5mm jack plug. If not, an adaptor is needed to allow them to be plugged in to the 3.5mm socket.
Yes, Louder than Words is a nationally recognised best practice charter, run by Action on Hearing Loss, for organisations striving to offer excellent levels of service and accessibility for customers and employees who are deaf or have a hearing loss.
Contact our Information Line for free, confidential information and support on all topics relating to hearing loss or deafness.