Display Patient Information Leafelts

Adult Services General Information

Date issued: December 2019

For review: December 2021

Ref: C-125/audiology/ER/Adult Services General information v8

PDF:  Adult Services General Information final December 2019 v8.pdf [pdf] 1MB

Key information for hearing aid users

You can get batteries from your local GP

You should have a brown battery book (either issued today or at your original fitting). This book entitles you to free batteries from any NHS supplier (this includes most GP surgeries and the audiology department at the hospital).

Your hearing aid tubing needs to be changed every 6 months.

Every 6 months we will replace the tubing on your hearing aid and check everything is working as it should. We can give you spare tubes so you can do this at home or we can do it for you.


Please check the next few pages of this booklet for details about opening times and locations.

Replacing the Ear mould

From time to time the ear mould needs to be replaced. When children are very little and growing quickly they may need a new ear mould every month. As they get bigger they may only need to be replaced every 6-12 months or even every other year. Please ask your Audiologist if you have any questions about this.

We can send you new batteries or repair your hearing aids by post.

The quickest and easiest way for us to help is face to face but if you can’t get down to see us we will try to help by post.

Batteries: Contact the department if you are unable to get batteries locally.

Broken hearing aids: Drop into a repair clinic during opening hours (see opening hours below). If you cannot come in to the department leave us a voicemail or e-mail or you can post the hearing aid and mould/ thin tube with your brown battery book to the address on the back of this leaflet. You also need to include a note explaining the problem. We aim to get this back to you within a week but it may take longer at busy times.

It’s not all about hearing aids.

We can provide advice and information about environmental aids to help with hearing the telephone or the doorbell and assistive listening devices such as Bluetooth streamers or loop systems. We can also direct you to charity organisations in the South West who specialise in these areas and provide loan equipment or specialist advice and recommendations.

Information is provided in this booklet or ask your audiologist for more information.

Common problems with hearing aids

There are a few common problems that will affect hearing aid users from time to time. Below are a few of the most common and some help on how to deal with them.

If the hearing aid stops working:

  • Try changing the battery.
  • Check the battery is in the right way round.
  • Take the hearing aid out and check the tubing is not blocked with wax.
  • Check whether there are droplets of condensation in the tubing. If there are, gently pull the soft tubing off the hooked part of the aid and blow down the tubing to remove the droplets.
  • Check that the tube (thick or thin) is not twisted, squashed or split.
  • Turn the hearing aid off and on (open and close the battery drawer), this will make sure that the hearing aid is not accidentally on the wrong program or the volume control is turned down.

If the hearing aid is whistling, squealing or buzzing:

  • This could be feedback which happens when sound from your hearing aid leaks out and gets picked up by its microphone.
  • The ear mould may not be in properly, push it gently to check.
  • There may be too much wax in the ear, ask your GP or Audiologist to check.

If none of these tips solve the problem then it would be best to come to either a drop-in or booked repair session to have your hearing aid checked.

Please note that removing the sticker from the back of your battery 5 minutes before use extends battery life by around 20-25%. Try to get your next battery ready when you first hear the low battery warning to maximise your battery life.

If the tubing or ear mould are damaged, twisted or split, or if the hearing aids are causing any discomfort then you should come to the repair service

Repair Service at Plymouth Hospitals

What is a repair?

Repairs are short appointments with an audiologist or assistant audiologist where we can solve quick problems or perform general maintenance on your hearing aid or ear mould. We can’t make adjustments to the sound of your hearing aid, for this you would need to call us and make a follow up appointment.

Come to repairs if:

  • The hearing aid / ear mould is broken/damaged
  • The ear mould is making your child’s ear sore
  • The hearing aid is whistling
  • You need new tubing in the ear moulds (should be replaced every 6 months)
  • You would like a volume control or extra programs e.g the loop system adding to your hearing aid
  • You are having any difficulties using your hearing aid or understanding the controls


Drop in repairs service opening times (Derriford only):

Drop-in repair opening times





09:00 > 12:00

14:00 > 16:00


09:00 > 12:00

14:00 > 16:00


09:00 > 12:00




14:00 > 16:00


09:00 > 12:00

14:00 > 16:00

Repair clinic Technical calls: (01752) 430846*

Email: plh-tr.audiologytech@nhs.net

You need to book a repair appointment if you wish to be seen at South Hams Hospital, Launceston, Liskeard, or Tavistock.

Booked repairs telephone numbers:

Kingsbridge (South Hams): 01548 852349

Launceston: 01566 765650

Liskeard: 01579 373500

Tavistock: 01822 612233

*Please note the technical calls line is a voicemail service, please leave your name, query and contact number and we will get back to you as soon as we can

If your last hearing test was more than three years ago and you feel your hearing has changed or you aren’t doing as well with your hearing aids as you used to, then you are eligible for a reassessment appointment. Call us on 01752 431253 or 01752 431254 to arrange an appointment to retest your hearing, check you're wearing the best hearing aids for your hearing loss and make any other adjustments necessary to improve your hearing.

You may be asked to get a new referral from your GP in order to get a reassessment appointment, if so, our admin team will inform you of this.

Action on Hearing loss

Action on hearing loss is the largest charity for people with hearing loss in the UK. The charity is there to support people with hearing loss to live the life they choose. They can provide advice and support on a wide range of subjects from day-to-day-care, to practical information, to campaigning for a fairer world for people with hearing loss, and funding research to find a cure.

The charity has a large source of information around hearing loss, including your rights and support for hearing loss so it is worth taking note of their details.

Website: https://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/

Understanding your rights: https://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/live-well/your-rights/

For help understanding or applying for benefits: https://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/how-we-help/information-and-resources/publications/benefits/understanding-benefits/


C2Hear Online

C2Hear Online is a series of short, interactive, multimedia videos about hearing aids, hearing loss and communication.

C2Hear has been designed for first-time adult hearing aid users, but may also be beneficial to parents learning to manage the maintenance of their child’s hearing aid.

These videos have been shown to provide a range of benefits by a high-quality research study.

For more information visit the website: http://www.hearing.nihr.ac.uk/research/c2Hearonline

C2Hear is now freely available online and can be accessed via computers, smartphones and tablets via YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_CO85ih5H68q5YSxMziidw

C2Hear Online is a partnership between:

Hear to Help’


Do you live in Devon or Cornwall and need help with your hearing aids?

The Hear to Help service provides support to hearing aid users, enabling people to make the most of their hearing aid and manage their hearing loss effectively.

The service is community based. Community Support Officers and volunteers provide the service through outreach work, home visits and drop-in services. The service includes:

  • Tubing, minor repairs, ear mould cleaning and battery replacement.
  • Basic training for hearing aid users on maintenance and usage of their hearing aid.
  • Providing advice and support to enable people to make the most of their hearing aid.
  • Providing information on other equipment and services.

Hear to help runs at various locations in Devon and Cornwall. These locations and times change so it is best to contact Hear to help directly to find out if there is a drop in service near to you.

Website: https://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/live-well/in-your-area/#list

‘Hear to Help’ Contact Details

For further information about the Devon and Cornwall Hear to Help service, or if you are interested in becoming a Hear to Help volunteer, please contact the local Community Support Officer:                 

Action on Hearing Loss

Unit 27
HQ Business Centre
237 Union Street

Telephone: 01752 228657
Textphone: 01752 604862
Fax : 01752 267925

Email: heartohelp.Devon&Cornwall@hearingloss.org.uk

Sensory Solutions

Sensory Solutions provides information, equipment and advice for people of any age with concerns about sight or hearing loss. All are welcome to use this confidential and impartial service provided by trained advisors. 

Sensory Solutions provides FREE NHS hearing aid services from our daily hearing aid clinic which operates on a ‘drop in’ basis during opening hours:

·Issue of replacement batteries, re-tubing for both moulded and open-fit hearing aids and also replacement of filters, switches and elbows.

·A member of our team can demonstrate how to fit, use, clean and maintain your hearing aid.

·Help and advice on making best use of your hearing aids can, if needed, be delivered in your own home

At Sensory Solutions we also provide:

  • A well-stocked demonstration centre showcasing assistive technology designed to help people with sensory impairment live independently, such as TV listeners and tinnitus maskers. We also offer a FREE home trial service for most equipment.
  • Outreach Service – a home visiting service offering practical support to promote independent living.
  • Insight training course introducing people with sight impairments to the local and national support available to help them adjust to living with sight loss
  • Low Vision Service – help with managing the impact on life of low vision.
  • Support for people who are profoundly Deaf.
  • Individual and group Information Technology (IT) sessions for people with sight impairments.
  • Braille tuition and ‘Skills for Seeing’ (Eccentric viewing) training.


Sensory Solutions Contact Information


Website: https://www.improvinglivesplymouth.org.uk/our-services/sensory-solutions



Sensory Solutions
Improving Lives Plymouth
156 Mannamead Road


Phone: 01752 201899              SMS: 07792 833929

Fax: 01752 201895




Opening Hours

Monday - Friday: 09.00 – 1230 then 1330 - 17.00

Closed on all Bank Holidays and for the week between Christmas and New Year.


Devon County Council Outreach Sensory Service

Devon Sensory Team provides support and advice to people who are visually impaired, Deaf, have an acquired hearing loss, are deafblind (sometimes known as a dual sensory impairment, a significant combination of hearing and sight loss).

Clinics are run in several locations around West Devon, Torridge and Dartmouth and Kingsbridge on a regular timetable, offering a free, confidential and impartial service for people with a hearing or visual impairment.

For the most up to date timetable please use the contact information below


Contact name:

Mr. Graham Morford

Contact email:


Contact telephone:

0345 155 1007






Sense is a national charity that supports people who are deafblind, have sensory impairments or complex needs, to enjoy more independent lives. Our expertise in supporting individuals with communication needs benefits people of all ages, as well as their families and carers. We provide information and advice, offer a wide range of flexible services and campaign passionately for the rights of the people we serve. 

Sense provides flexible, creative and innovative services. Paying particular attention to each individual’s communication, sensory and mobility needs to enable them to live as independently as possible, to have control and make choices about how they live.

This includes providing opportunities for individuals to use their personal budgets to purchase Sense services that enable them to remain connected to their family, friends and local community.

Following initial contact with Sense we will arrange a visit with an assessment and advice worker. At this point we aim to identify the persons’ needs in discussion with them, and if appropriate, their family. We will then work with the individual to see how their needs can be met.


For more information contact Sense Community Services Manager: 

Tel:         07557026913

Email:     Rachael.Robb@sense.org.uk

Website: https://www.sense.org.uk/


Tinnitus and Hearing Therapy services at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust


The word 'tinnitus' comes from the Latin word for 'ringing' and is the perception of sound in the absence of any corresponding external sound. Noises may be heard in either ear or both ears, it might be difficult to pinpoint or seem to be just in your head. The noise may be low, medium or high?pitched. It might be one sound or different sounds and it might be there all the time or it might come and go.


What causes tinnitus?

Tinnitus is not a disease or an illness, it is a symptom generated within a person's own auditory pathways. The precise cause of tinnitus is still not fully understood.


Who gets tinnitus?

Experiences of tinnitus are very common in all age groups, especially following exposure to loud noise; however, it is unusual for it to be a major problem. Mild tinnitus is common, about 10 per cent of the population have it all the time and, in up to one per cent of adults, this may affect the quality of their life.


What should you do if you have tinnitus?

Firstly, try not to worry. Tinnitus rarely indicates a serious underlying problem, however, if you do suffer with tinnitus it is wise to let your doctor or audiologist know as they may be able to provide advice to help you manage it. If something treatable is causing your tinnitus they can also refer you on to a specialist.


What is hearing therapy?

Hearing therapists provide advice, information and support for people with tinnitus. If your tinnitus is bothering you, interfering with your sleep or affecting your hearing then your audiologist can provide information and advice initially and refer you to see a hearing therapist if required.

More information about tinnitus can be found on the British Tinnitus Association website



Support in the Workplace ‘Access to Work’

If your hearing loss affects your ability to work, you might be able to get an Access to Work (AtW) grant (money you don’t have to pay back).

To qualify for an access to work grant your disability or health condition must affect your ability to do a job or mean you have to pay work-related costs. For example, special computer equipment or travel costs because you can’t use public transport.

The size of the grant will depend on your circumstances.

The grant can pay for practical support to help you start working and/or stay in work. Other things the grant may help with include;

  • Special aids and equipment such as a telephone amplifier, textphone or hearing loop system.
  • A support worker.
  • Communication support.
  • Disability awareness training for your colleagues.

To find out more about access to work grants visit: https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work

Access to work fact sheet: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/access-to-work-factsheet

The Access to Work fact sheet explains how Access to work can provide practical and financial support to help you overcome barriers to starting or keeping a job if you have a disability or long term physical or mental health condition. It explains:

  • Who can get help from Access to Work?
  • What you will get.
  • How to claim.
  • How to ask for your award to be reviewed and how to complain.

You could also contact your local Jobcentre or Jobcentre Plus office and ask to talk to an access to work adviser or a Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) for advice and an application form. Alternatively, if you are in employment you could speak to your employer.

Looking for Work

When you’re looking for work, look on adverts and application forms for the ‘disability confident’ symbol.

This symbol means:

  • The employer is committed to employing disabled people.
  • You will be guaranteed an interview if you meet the basic conditions for the job

For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/looking-for-work-if-disabled


Communication Tips

Tips if you have a hearing loss

  • Be open. Tell the person you're speaking to that you have a hearing loss.
  • Ask people to get your attention before they start talking to you.
  • Get a better view: stand a reasonable distance from the person so you can see their face and lips. Gestures and facial expressions will help you understand what they’re saying.
  • If necessary, ask people to slow down and speak more clearly.
  • If you don't catch what someone says, just ask them to say it again or in a different way.
  • Play to your strengths: if your hearing is better in one ear try turning that side towards the person speaking to you.
  • Keep calm. If you get anxious you might find it harder to follow what's being said.
  • Learn to lipread: everyone does it a bit, especially in noisy places.
  • Be kind to yourself. No one hears correctly all the time.

Tips when speaking to someone with a hearing loss

  • Even if someone is wearing hearing aids it doesn't mean they can hear you perfectly. Ask if they need to lip-read.
  • Make sure you have the person’s attention  before you start speaking
  • Speak clearly, not too slowly and use normal lip movements, facial expressions and gestures.
  • Don't shout. It can be uncomfortable for hearing aid users and it looks aggressive.
  • If someone doesn't understand what you've said, don't keep repeating it. Try saying it in a different way instead.
  • Find a suitable place to talk, with good lighting and away from noise and distractions.
  • Check that the person you're talking to is following you during the conversation. Use plain language and don't waffle. Avoid jargon and unfamiliar abbreviations.

Lip-reading Classes

Lipreading classes are designed to give you the confidence and skills to help communicate better. To find out if there’s a class in your area, contact the action on hearing loss information line, or the Association of Teachers of Lipreading to Adults via their website.


Action on hearing loss lip-reading information



Action on hearing loss information line:

Telephone: 0808 808 0123 (freephone)
Textphone: 0808 808 9000 (freephone)
Fax: 020 7296 8199
SMS: 0780 0000 360
Email: information@hearingloss.org.uk
Twitter page: @HearinglossIL


Association of Teachers of Lipreading to Adults:



Cleaning an ear mould

  1. Clean away any traces of wax from around the sound outlet with a brush or pin.
  2. Clean the ventilation opening by pressing a brush or cotton bud through the hole while twisting it slightly.

Washing an Ear Mould

  1. Disconnect the ear mould and the tubing from the sound hook of the hearing instrument.
  2. Wash the ear mould in lukewarm water using a mild soap. Do not use strong detergents.
  3. Rinse with water.
  4. Dry the ear mould. , blow out any water droplets left in the tube.

Make sure that the ear mould and tubing are completely dry before they are reconnected to the hearing aid. Be careful that the left ear’s ear mould and tubing are connected to the hearing aid with left ear marking (blue) and correspondingly for the right ear instrument (red)

Important notice: The hearing aid itself must never be washed or immersed in water or other liquids


Fitting an Ear Mould

  1. Place the tip of the ear mould in the ear canal, twisting slightly, making sure that the top part of the ear mould (A) is pushed behind and under the fold (B) of the ear.
  2. Gently pull up the ear and press the ear mould in the direction of the ear canal.
  3. With the ear mould positioned correctly in the ear, place the hearing aid behind the ear by lifting the base of the hearing instrument over the top of the ear.

A video showing how to do this can be found at the following web address:



Retubing an Ear Mould

  1. Pull the old tubing out of the mould and keep it. Taper the last inch of the new tubing.
  2. Thread the tapered end through from the outside of the mould.
  3. Pull the tubing through mould until the tapered end has passed right through and the other end is flat against the outside of the mould.
  4. Cut off the tapered end as close to the mould as possible.
  5. To adjust the tubing to the right length, place the mould in your ear; ask somebody to mark the tubing just past the end of the hearing aid hook, then remove the mould and cut the tubing at this point. Or us the old piece of tubing as a guide: hold it against the mould and cut the new tubing to the same length.
  6. Squeeze the top of the tube and fit it over the end of the hearing aid hook


Cleaning an Open Fit/ Thin Tube

  1. Pull tube out of the hearing aid.
  2. Insert the cleaning wire into the tube.
  3. Pull the cleaning wire all the way through the tube.
  4. Remove the cleaning wire and push the tube into the hearing instrument.


Fitting an Open Fit/ Thin Tube

  1. Place the hearing instrument behind the ear. Hold the bend of the tube between your thumb and index finger. The dome should point towards the ear canal opening. Gently push the dome into the ear canal until the sound tube sits close against the side of the head.
  2. Position the ear grip in the concha using your index finger. If the sound tube is sticking out from the ear, the dome has not been placed correctly in the ear canal. If the ear grip is visibly sticking out from the ear it has not been positioned correctly.
  3.  To remove the instrument, pull on the bend of the tube.

Changing an Open Fit/ Thin Tube 

  1. Pull or twist (check your individual manufacturers information) the tube out of the hearing aid.
  2. Push the tube into the hearing aid.
  3. Correct.


Changing a Dome

  1. Use your finger tips and hold the bottom of the dome. Then pull it off. Once removed don’t put the same dome back on.
  2. Place the new dome on the speaker.
  3. Ensure that it is fastened securely.

Connecting and Disconnecting a BAHA



To safely and comfortably connect the sound processor, tilt it slightly and carefully push it onto the abutment. Please note it is important to keep hair out of the way when the sound processor is connected to the abutment.



The sound processor is safely and comfortably disconnected by carefully tilting it away from the abutment.#


Positioning your BAHA

Daily Cleaning

In order to reduce the risk of skin infection around the abutments it is important to maintain a good daily cleaning routine.

Before the skin has fully healed, antibacterial soap and non-alcohol baby wipes may be used to clean the area around the abutment.

When healing has progressed, you should start using a cotton swab or a soft brush. Use the brush on a daily basis, together with soap and water, to gently clean the outside and inside of the abutment.

The brush should be replaced about once every 3 months. Only very soft brushes should be use. If you have two implants, you should use two soft brushes – one for each abutment.

Cleaning Your Abutment Site

Cleaning every few days: In addition to the daily cleaning routines, the skin should be cleaned more thoroughly to remove debris at least twice a week. During hair wahing, debris becomes softer and is easier to remove. The cleaning brush should still be used with care.

If you have persistent problems with soreness surrounding the abutment, contact your ear clinic. Parents or caregivers are responsible for maintaining good hygiene around a child’s abutment.

Please note it is essential to clean both the inside and outside of the abutment. This is important to prevent debris build-up.

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Our aim is to deliver the highest quality service and standards of individual care. Through listening to your views we can continue to develop and improve out services to our patients.

We welcome any suggestions or comments that will improve our services. Please speak to the department manager or the PALS department. You may also write to the chief executive.

Want to share a positive experience?

Share your experience through the feedback section on the NHS choices website: http://www.nhs.uk/pages/home.aspx


If you have a complaint

You can make a complaint via writing, e-mail or telephone. Normally within 12 months of the event or within 12 months of learning about the problem.


Complaints Address:

Chief Executive

Level 7, Derriford Hospital

Plymouth, PL6 8DH

Contact PALS

Visit the welcome centre for advice:

Monday – Friday 09:30am - 5pm

Phone: 01752 439884 or 432564

Email:    plh-tr.PALS@nhs.net.

Write:     Patient Advice & Liaison Office (PALS)

Patient Services, Level 7

Derriford Hospital

Plymouth, PL6 8DH


Out of hours: In an emergency contact the duty manager through the hospital switchboard

Tel: 01752202082


If you don’t want to speak directly to PALS, independent help is available.

ICAS (Independent Complaints Advocacy Service) Tel: 0808 802 3000


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