The Audiology Department is located near the main entrance of the Gilbert Bain Hospital at the end of the Physiotherapy corridor. If you have an appointment please wait in the Physiotherapy waiting area.
This department provides a Modernised Audiology Service. The Scottish Government began funding a Modernised Audiology program in Scotland from 2003, expecting it to take 4 years. This program of funding was aimed to provide modern test facilities and up to date digital hearing aid technology.
"Digital" refers to the method the hearing aid uses to process sounds. The sounds can be altered very precisely to meet your needs - resulting in a "cleaner" sound quality.
It is important to note that digital aids are not necessarily small or made to fit right inside your ear. You will generally be fitted with a BTE (behind the ear) hearing aid.
Since modernisation the visiting service provided by the Audiology department in Aberdeen has been replaced by a purpose built Audiology department and an Audiologist employed by NHS SHetland. The new department was officially launched in October 2005.
Pre-modernisation approximately 45 patients a year fitted with an analogue hearing aid
After modernisation approximatley 200 patients a year fitted with digital hearing aids
In October 2007 the Scottish Government released the findings of a Clinical Audit of Audiology services across Scotland. In this Audit the local service gained an overall score in the top 3 services of Scotland. The service was praised as providing "the gold standard" and "All patients in Shetland receive a comprehensive, modernised service ...".
How do I get an NHS hearing aid?
If you already have an older analogue type hearing aid then you can contact the department on 01595 743231 for an appointment.
If you do not have a hearing aid or you have a private hearing aid then you need to see your GP for referral to be assessed by the Audiologist.
My NHS hearing aid isn't working properly?
Contact the department on 01595 743231 for a repair appointment.
I used to have an NHS hearing aid but it has been lost or broken?
Contact the department on 01595 743231 for an appointment.
Video BSL (British Sign Language)
Significant is a company which is contracted to provide Video BSL for NHS Shetland 9am – 5pm. If you are coming to hospital and need access to a BSL interpreter this is available via video conferencing facilities. The IT department is currently working on providing more video conferencing facilities to make the video BSL more accessible.
If you wish to be seen in the Tinnitus clinic you can access this clinic by referral from the ENT (Ear, nose and throat) consultant (after referral to ENT by your GP) or after consultation with the Audiologist during Hearing aid clinics.
Tinnitus clinics offer counselling and advice on sound enrichment including the fitting of hearing aids if required.
Hearing tests / audiograms
To request a hearing test (Audiogram), visit your GP for a referral to the hospital as appropriate either direct to Audiology or during an ENT (ear, nose and throat) clinic.
Hearing aid assessment
A hearing test is part of being assessed for a hearing aid. If you already have an NHS hearing aid you can request a hearing test if you feel your hearing has changed. If you would like an NHS hearing aid or have private hearing aids and would like to change to an NHS hearing aid then you need to see your GP for referral.
If you have problems with your balance or feel dizzy you need to see your GP. If your GP thinks it is appropriate for you to see the ENT (ear, nose and throat) consultant for investigation of these symptoms then a referral will be made. The ENT consultant may refer you to the Vestibular clinic held in the Audiology department. Vestibular clinics currently offer counselling, advice and exercises to help with vestibular problems.
If you child has been advised to keep the ears dry for instance by the ENT (ear, nose and throat) consultant it may be possible to supply custom made swim plugs. You will need a referral from your GP or the ENT consultant prior to an appointment being given. An impression of the ear is taken using a "putty like" silicone material. This impression is sent off island for manufacture and returns within a few weeks for fitting.
Paediatric hearing assessment
These clinics are usually held once a month although at holiday times this may vary. Your GP, health visitor, school nurse, speech and language therapist or other health care professional can refer children to the Paediatric Hearing assessment clinic held in the Audiology department. This clinic involves the Audiologist and the Teacher for hearing impairment and communication. If your child requires assessment prior to seeing the ENT (ear, nose and throat) consultant they may be tested in this clinic which is held at a different time to the ENT clinics.
Modernisation of Audiology throughout the UK led to increased waiting times in some areas. This has also been the case in Shetland with efforts being made to reduce them. The aim is to meet the Scottish Governments target of 18 wks referral to treatment by 2011. This is to be phased in with an initial target of 12 weeks referral to initial assessment by the end of March 2009. This target was met a month early in Feb 2009 with referral to initial assessment being no longer than 4 weeks giving a total wait referral to treatment (hearing aid fitting) of 7 weeks. This is far below the government target of 18 weeks.
Useful advice and tips on using your hearing aid
The Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID)
British Tinnitus Association
Health and Safety Executive
The Tinnitus and Hyperacusis Centre
The Menieres Society
RNID dizziness and balance problems
The National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) Scotland
Hearing problems due to noise
Don't lose the music