Hearing Therapy

Hearing Therapy is a service within Audiology that specialises in the management of:

Tinnitus (noises in the ears)
Hyperacusis (over-sensitive hearing)
Hearing related communication problems
Dizziness and balance problems

Enquires for Hearing Therapy or for the Balance Clinic can be made by:
Tel – 01253 955579 Fax – 01253 956709;  Email – A.kenyon@nhs.net
Textphone / Minicom users please dial the typetalk prefix (18001) before 01253 955579

Tinnitus management

Tinnitus is sound heard in the ears or head that cannot be heard by others. Most commonly, the sounds will be in the form of whistling, buzzing, hissing humming, cracking, popping or pulsing, but it can be almost any sound. These sounds are very common and tend to occur naturally in the hearing system, especially when we strain to hear or at times of stress.
While there is no simple cure for tinnitus, the vast majority of people who struggle with tinnitus respond very well to tinnitus-management techniques. Tinnitus-related distress can be greatly reduced, sleep and concentration improved. Our Tinnitus Group Information Sessions are popular and are an opportunity to learn more about tinnitus and the best ways to manage it.

How to get a Tinnitus Management appointment

If you struggle with tinnitus, your GP can refer you to the hospital’s Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) department. In ENT, your hearing will be tested and the Consultant will check for any physical factors that may be affecting your hearing. This may include an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan to give the Consultant a clearer picture of the condition of the ear and hearing nerve. This will not be necessary in every case.

The ENT Consultant will then refer you the Hearing Therapist who will look at ways of managing and coping with the tinnitus.

Hyperacusis management

Hyperacusis is a term used to describe ‘over-sensitive’ hearing – hypersensitivity to everyday sound levels. We can all find loud noise uncomfortable, for some, quiet sounds – like the hum of a fridge or a fan on a computer – can seem loud or even painful. Others may be able to tolerate these sounds but find everyday environmental sounds uncomfortable – such as the sounds of traffic or group conversations.
Treatment usually involves:

  • Developing a good understanding of hyperacusis and any triggers
  • A trial of devices to go in the ear that give a out a low level sound to help reduce the sensitivity
  • Relaxation techniques to counteract the physical and emotional stress response
  • Looking at sounds we avoid and how to reduce the effect they have.

How to get a Hyperacusis Management appointment

If you have a problem with hypersensitive hearing, your GP can refer you to the hospital’s Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) department. In ENT, your hearing will be tested and the Consultant will check for any physical factors that may be affecting your hearing. This may include an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan to give the Consultant a clearer picture of the condition of the ear and hearing nerve. This will not be necessary in every case.
The ENT Consultant will then refer you the Hearing Therapist who will look at ways of reducing the sensitivity and helping you to cope.

Hearing-related communication problems

Hearing Therapy can advise on various tactics and options to improve hearing related communication difficulties. In Hearing Therapy we can look at:

  • Improving lipreading skills
  • Communication tactics
  • Advice on amplified / hearing-aid compatible telephones
  • Devices to make television sound clearer
  • Suitability for operations to improve hearing (e.g a cochlear implant for severe hearing loss).

How to get a Communication appointment

If you don’t have a hearing aid, your GP can refer you to the hospital’s Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) department. In ENT, your hearing will be tested and the Consultant will check for any physical factors that may be affecting your hearing. This may include an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan to give the Consultant a clearer picture of the condition of the ear and hearing nerve.  This will not be necessary in every case.  The ENT department can refer you to Hearing Therapy if you are not suitable for a hearing aid.

If you already have an NHS hearing aid but continue to struggle, you can contact Hearing Therapy directly to book an appointment – Tel – 01253 655579 – Fax – 01253 306709  or drop in to the Hearing Aid department at Blackpool Victoria Hospital to request a referral to Hearing Therapy.

Management of dizziness and balance problems

The Balance Clinic offers rehabilitation for many types of dizziness and balance problems, particularly those relating to the inner ear. The main form of rehabilitation comes in the form of exercises to help the brain adapt to the dizziness or imbalance.
Balance rehabilitation exercises gradually expose the person to safe, non-strenuous movements designed to maximise their recovery from the imbalance or dizziness.

The exercises are customised for each individual with the aim of improving quality of life and allowing the person to participate in a wide range of activities.

How to get an appointment at the Balance Clinic

Your GP will need to refer you to the hospital’s Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) department. In ENT, the Consultant will check for any medical or physical factors that may be affecting your balance or causing dizziness.  This may include an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan or tests in Audiology to check the function of the balance organs in the inner ear.  This will not be necessary in every case.  Some types of balance problem may be able to be treated and resolved in ENT clinic.
The ENT Consultant can then refer you to the Balance Clinic if they feel that you are likely to benefit from balance rehabilitation. In some cases, balance rehabilitation may not be of benefit  – e.g if the cause of the imbalance or dizziness is found to be purely down to a medication side effect or as a result of a neurological problem.

 

Links

Tinnitus and Hearing:
British Tinnitus Association:
www.tinnitus.org.uk

Action on Hearing Loss:
www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk

Cochlear Implant information:
https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/cochlear-implants

Dizziness and Balance

Detailed balance / dizziness information
www.dizziness-and-balance.com
Patient perspective on dizziness and rehab
www.labyrinthitis.org.uk