if you’re worried about deafness or hearing loss, we’ll work fast to tell you what the problem is and give you a treatment plan.
Our joint diagnostic Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) and Audiology service for adults and children offers the highest standards of care by surgeons and audiologists with many years’ experience.
It’s a one-stop service, which means the right hearing specialists are in one place to diagnose your problem and treat it promptly.
Deafness is a term used to describe various types of hearing loss. It can be temporary or permanent. You may suddenly find it hard to hear or realise over time that your hearing’s not as good as it was.
There are two types of hearing loss: conductive and sensorineural.
This describes problems in the middle ear that prevent sound from reaching the inner ear.
Sensorineural hearing loss refers to issues with the triggering or interpretation of nerve impulses reaching the brain from the ear.
People can have a mix of the two types.
Some of the causes of conductive hearing loss are:
- Earwax build-up
- Infections of the outer and middle ear (otitis externa and otitis media)
- A hole in the ear drum
- Middle ear fluid build-up (glue ear)
Common causes of sensorineural hearing loss are:
- Infectious diseases
- A bang on the head
- Exposure to loud noises
It’s not always easy to pinpoint the signs of deafness as they can come on gradually.
An adult might notice they need the volume to be higher on the TV to hear it properly. They can find it hard to hear and follow conversations.
One of the first signs that parents and schools notice is a child not paying attention in class. It can lead to deafness being wrongly interpreted as autism. Other signs are failing to answer when spoken to and high volumes needed when gaming or watching TV.
Our treatments include:
- Microsuction to remove wax from the ears
- Myringoplasty for perforated eardrums
- Grommet insertion to treat glue ear
- Hearing aid service
- Tinnitus treatment
- A balance/vertigo service
Inflammation and infection of the external ear and drum requires extensive treatment.
We use microsuction under a state-of-the-art microscope to get rid of infection and clear the way for drops or to remove impacted wax.
Impacted earwax is uncomfortable but can be alleviated with ear microsuction using a microscope. You will be asked to use ear drops to soften the wax beforehand if it is very hard.
Microsuction carries a small risk of outer ear infection.
Children are seen from 3-16 years old. The most common problem we deal with is glue ear (otitis media with effusion).
Glue ear happens when fluid behind the ear drum causes hearing loss. The volume of hearing loss in the 4-7 age group can be as much as 30-40 decibels.
We can insert grommets (small tubes) into the eardrum during day surgery to help to drain the fluid. Children are back to normal activities after 48 hours.
Grommet insertion carries a 2 per cent risk of infection, which is treated with antibiotic drops. There’s also a small risk of the eardrum having a hole in it when the grommet falls out (less than 0.5 per cent).
One of the operations we use to repair the middle ear is myringoplasty to repair a hole in the eardrum.
The operation, using the latest kit, requires an overnight stay and 10 to 14 days off work or school to avoid infection from other people. The dissolvable stitches behind the ear dissolve, so there’s no need for a GP appointment to remove them.
Failure (15-20% risk), infection and bleeding (rare), post-operative infection in children (10%).
For our hearing aid, tinnitus and vertigo services, see hearing loss management.
We offer fast-track services for children. When parents and children arrive, they’re shown to a playroom with access to food and drink.
They are then welcomed into a consultation room where the ENT surgeon will discuss the child’s history and examine them. If it’s an ENT clinic with Audiology, the child will also have a hearing test, such as tympanometry to test whether glue ear might be a cause.
You’ll walk away with a treatment plan.
You have many options to make an appointment at a time to suit you – in the afternoon, evening and weekends throughout the month.
When you arrive, you’ll be invited to sit in our comfortable reception area and enjoy a great coffee – or lunch if you want – before being called into a well-appointed consultation room.
Your ENT history will be taken, and further investigations made. We’ll discuss treatments with you and book you in for day surgery if it’s grommet insertion or an overnight stay if it’s myringoplasty.