December 5, 2010

Hearing loss ‘experts’

Filed under: audiologists,hearing aids,hearing loss — partdeafpartgeekpartgirl @ 5:04 pm
Tags: , , ,

In a reply to DGT’s comment, I promised to post examples of the ignorance of some audiologists.

Okay, so I’ve already mentioned the lack of visual display to alert patients for their appointment within audiology departments (instead they will literally say or call the name).

MoiraDancer commented that her audiologist department phones her for h.aid follow up appointments… Lady X with severe hearing loss told me she gets the same thing from her audiologists, they try to phone and refuse to e-mail or fax. I used a drop-in clinic as I never got a follow-up call…. unless I didn’t hear it… ;-)

Lady X also has to put up with audiologists talking down into their notes, not facing her, when she needs to lipread. So then Lady X can’t follow what they’re going on about if she doesn’t have a friend with her. They won’t write things down for her either. Seriously, what a bunch of ****s (insert 4 letters as you feel appropriate).

An audiologist I saw thought that the international symbol for deafness & hearing impairment was a sign for hearing aids. (This one, in case you don’t know what I mean- ) I had to tell her it’s displayed where there are facilities for deaf/hearing impaired, when there is a ‘T’ in the bottom right corner there are induction loop facilities which can be used with a hearing aid. She still didn’t seem to believe me about the symbol, and said that I *might* be right, but she’s seen it for hearing aids….

She saw that symbol on a badge. I had a few different badges made up so I was less afraid to leave the house. The audiologist fitted me a h.aid and she said that I wouldn’t be needing those badges now… Um… A hearing aid is a really useful, wonderful gadget, but it will NEVER bring you normal hearing. (Doesn’t that audiologist even know this most basic thing? How can she give realistic expectations to patients if she doesn’t even know that?) There are plenty of noise situations in which you’ll really struggle. I often do still wear the badges as I still can’t tell the direction from which sound is coming. It’s not about having an ear switched on or amplified but also how the brain interprets the signals. I hide and avoid crowded places as best I can.

One more thing about this same lady, she offered me to wear the h.aid on my way home from my first appointment obtaining it and having her it set up. UH OH…! Now I’d read around the subject area enormously before getting my bionic ear attachment. I’d wanted to prepare myself as best I could, I wanted to minimise the opportunity for any more unpleasant surprises. Also I didn’t want generally unrealistic expectations. Every piece of literature about this (including the sheet from the audiology department!) advised not wearing it outside until after getting used to it indoors. You’re supposed to introduce it to your ear and brain very gradually. Noises in a h.aid sound very strange and metallic/electronic at first and it takes a while for your brain to make sense of all the new noises– your own voice really does sound weird enough, so you’re supposed to progress slowly in a safe environment. Not wear it home walking (or god forbid driving) along a busy road etc.




  1. Audiologists are trained by going to BSc in Audiology which is provided by about 10 UK universities. Some of them jump to it from a science degree and via Clinical Scientist Training degree. It may be that it happens to attract an unusual number of “professionals” who don’t like their patients! Your experience is really disturbing, as I always associate NHS with proper patient care guidelines. NHS seems to have done the job well in cancer management, but not in other fields.

    Comment by NKPA — December 6, 2010 @ 11:07 am | Reply

  2. You seem to know a lot about this NKPA. Are there any limitations on the class of degree needed to get a job with the NHS as an audiologist, or will a third do?

    Comment by Dale — December 6, 2010 @ 8:48 pm | Reply

    • Maybe this is wrong way to “have a go” at them. Even if they attract the worst graduates (I don’t know if this is the case), they seem to get the basics wrong. For example insisting on phoning patients with hearing problems is surely wrong! It’s a question of humane approach.

      The list of universities offering Audiology degrees is given on British Academy of Audiology website (note the complicated web address):

      The NHS training programme for audiologists is given on:

      I’ll try to find the NHS patient care guidelines listing how to deal with patients with hearing loss. If anybody knows about these let me know! It’s a starting point for complaints, if your audiologists don’t follow them then complaints are necessary. If the guidelines don’t exist then this is a scandal in itself.

      Comment by NKPA — December 7, 2010 @ 12:57 pm | Reply

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