Frequently Asked Questions

audiology-faqDo I need a hearing test?

In our experience patients often mention similar difficulties that indicate to them that they have problems with their hearing. If any of the following situations apply to you, then we would recommend that you have your hearing tested:

  • Other people seem to mumble rather than speaking clearly.
  • It is difficult to hold a conversation in a noisy place.
  • Other people comment that your television or music is loud.
  • You struggle to hear if the television volume is set for other people.
  • You have difficulty hearing on the telephone.
  • You have difficulty hearing your doorbell ring.
  • You hear better when you can see the persons face.
  • You have to ask people to sit on your “good side” to hear them.
  • You have ringing or buzzing noises in your ears.

What do I need to bring with me to my Audiology appointment?

If you already have hearing aids, bring them with you, along with your record book. For any appointment, please have your ears checked and if necessary, wax removed at your GP surgery.

Can I get a digital hearing aid from the NHS?


Our department issues digital hearing aids as standard.

They are sophisticated multi-channel aids with features such as directional microphones, automatic noise reduction and different programmes that can be selected for varying listening conditions.

Who is eligible for a digital hearing aid?

We offer digital aids to every patient if their hearing tests show that they would benefit from one.
If you have not had an NHS hearing aid before, you must first visit your GP.

We also offer digital aids to people who already have NHS hearing aids, as and when their hearing aid review is due. We will update those who already have digital hearing aids when their current aid is no longer suitable.

If you are a war pensioner, you will be given priority for hearing aids if your pension was awarded for deafness resulting from service. This means that you may be seen more quickly at your clinic but it does not mean that you are entitled to better hearing aids than other patients.

You can get an NHS digital hearing aid, even if you have already bought a hearing aid privately. If you are a private ear, nose and throat (ENT) patient, you must wait the same amount of time to be fitted with an aid as NHS patients referred by their GP. You will not be given any priority over other referrals.

How big are digital hearing aids?

Digital hearing aids come in ‘behind-the-ear’, ‘in-the-ear’ or ‘in-the-canal’ styles. On the NHS, ‘behind-the-ear’ aids are the only style available. However, depending on your hearing loss, you may be offered different sizes and you may be able to have an ‘open fit’ hearing aid which still has the hearing aid behind the ear, but with a very thin tube and rubber tip that inserts into the ear canal, making the hearing aid almost invisible. We also have a choice of colours in stock for each model of hearing aid we provide.

What do I need to do if I lose my hearing aid?

If your hearing aid has been lost, you will need to attend a repair clinic for a new ear impression. If you have lost an open fit type hearing aid, please attend an open repair clinic and we will be able to replace the hearing aid

Please note that if you have lost your hearing aid, it is likely that you will be charged for a replacement. For more information, please read the lost hearing aids letter (PDF 163kb).

How often should I get my hearing checked?

Hearing loss is generally a gradual process over a number of years, and as such hearing assessments do not need to be carried out very frequently. However, if you notice increasing difficulty hearing, and your ears are clear of wax and any hearing devices you use are serviced and functioning properly, we would suggest that you contact the department to arrange a hearing assessment.

Is it possible to have a refresher appointment for insertion and maintenance of my hearing aid?

If you feel that you require a routine appointment for maintenance or management of your hearing aid, please contact the audiology department to arrange an appointment.

Can digital hearing aids help cut out background noise?

People who use traditional analogue hearing aids often complain that they find it difficult or impossible to follow conversations in noisy places. Many digital aids are designed to reduce steady kinds of background noise, such as the rumble of traffic or the whirr of a fan. This makes listening more comfortable, but it does not necessarily help you to pick out a single voice from everything else going on, especially when several people are talking. Two things have been shown to improve hearing in noisy situations more than anything else; these are wearing hearing aids in both ears, and using hearing aids that have directional microphones.

Directional microphones pick up sounds that come from in front of you much better than sounds to the side or behind you. This makes it easier for you to focus on what you want to listen to in a noisy place. Most digital hearing aids have microphones that can be set to operate like this. This means you can switch between directional and all-round sound, depending on what you need to hear at the time. Some digital aids will sense automatically where the noise is coming from and adjust the microphone to reduce the noise selectively. However, a hearing aid cannot know what you want to listen to and so the reduction of unwanted sound can never be perfect.

Last updated: June 24, 2022