Around 60 new patients receive treatment for hearing issues each week in Rotherham, thanks to the town’s unique ‘one-stop-shop’ ear care and audiology service.
Rotherham is thought to be the only town in the UK where patients can refer themselves to audiology services without having to visit a GP or other health professional first.
This Deaf Awareness Week (4 – 10 May), people suffering from problems with their ears are encouraged to seek help: Any adult in Rotherham can contact the service directly with issues such as ear wax, pain or infections and people over 55 years of age can also self refer for hearing problems
Amanda Platts, Specialist Nurse and Lecturer in Ear Care and Audiology at the Trust, said: “We have a ‘one-stop’ clinic, which again we believe is the first in the UK. At the clinic patients are seen by a specialist nurse who can remove wax and treat any infections. They are then seen by an audiologist for a hearing test and some patients, if they are suitable, are fitted with a hearing aid the same day.”
As well as providing ear care, the service has a drop-in hearing aid repair service offered through two clinics; one on Mondays and one on Fridays, both at Rotherham Community Health Centre on Greasbrough Road, near to the town centre. The service sees in excess of 80 patients at each of the repair clinics. Overall, the service sees over 500 patients per week, many of who have made the first step in improving their ability to hear well.
Amanda added: “When people are losing their hearing their families are usually the first to notice. Patients will say things like ‘I’m only here because my family has made me come’. Another sign of hearing difficulties is having to turn the television up louder; patients comment that neighbours and again family have told them that their television is on really loud. Some people start to realise that they are missing things in group conversations too.
“Sometimes the problem can be something as simple as a build-up of wax which we can quickly remove; patients are often amazed how much this improves their hearing.”
Rotherham’s ear care specialists run a patient steering group so that patients can influence the way the service operates and it runs a tinnitus support group for tinnitus sufferers where industry experts are invited to attend to pass on tips on how to live with tinnitus. The service also works closely with Rotherham’s branch of Action On Hearing Loss who run repair drop-in events across the town which are mainly staffed by volunteers.
Patients registered with a Rotherham GP can refer themselves to receive the expert care of TRFT’s Primary Ear Care and Audiology Service by calling 01709 423145 or 01709 423207 visiting: www.earcarecentre.com
for more information.
Activity taking place at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust this week for Deaf Awareness Week:
• To help mark Deaf Awareness Week, the Trust will welcome representatives from the local branch of Healthwatch and Rotherham Deaf Futures into Rotherham Hospital on Friday 8 May to help assess and improve the facilities available for people with hearing difficulties.
• Staff at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust have also been supporting Deaf Awareness Week by learning to say their names using British Sign Language – you can learn to do this too by watching the Trust’s unique tutorial video on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheRotherhamNHSFoundationTrust
. The video has gone viral and has been shared and used by NHS Trusts up and down the UK.
• Experts are also sharing more about how to access support for hearing problems through an awareness campaign in Rotherham Hospital’s main entrance throughout Deaf Awareness Week.