Over the last decade or so, the NHS has introduced highly effective digital hearing aids that are individually programmed to the needs of the patient. These allow the wearer to participate fully in normal workplace and social activities. However, it may take several months for a new hearing aid wearer to become accustomed to a new experience of hearing and this can be alarming at first. Also, hearing aids are only effective if they are working properly and they require simple maintenance on a regular basis.
To address these challenges, the NHSS volunteers are able to:
• Provide guidance to clients on the use of hearing aids to maximise performance
• Carry out simple maintenance and repair including cleaning earmoulds, replacing the plastic tubing between the hearing aid and earmould (required every 4-6 months), and replacing the top hook if it is broken
• Testing hearing aid batteries and replacing as necessary
• Replacing cords on body worn aids
• Provide follow-up support for new hearing aid users to ensure they can fit the hearing aid correctly, understand how to use the controls, and replace the batteries
• Provide information about using assistive equipment such use loops systems, flashing doorbells, vibrating alarms, telephone amplifiers and how these might be obtained. This would include how to use a telephone with the hearing aid.
• Provide the client with acknowledgement and validation of their experience of hearing loss.
• Provide deaf awareness advice to the client's family or carers. For example, in the use of light to make a speaker's face clear and allow the hard of hearing person to lip read.
• Involve families, subject to client consent, in the correct use and care of a hearing aid
These services are delivered by our Volunteers working in our open community clinics, by working on the mobile clinic or by making home visits for clients with limited mobility.