MORE adults with learning disabilities and impaired hearing are using their hearing aids correctly thanks to a new technical support service provided by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Elaine Pearson, a senior assistant technical officer at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, has increased uptake of hearing aids in patients who would otherwise struggle to use them by introducing dedicated review and repair sessions, which focus on hearing aid use rather than assessment and fitting.
Elaine Pearson (left) with Rebecca Corker, 36, of Hoyland, Barnsley
Now, these tailored appointments are improving the quality of life in adults with learning difficulties as evidence shows regular use of hearing aids has a positive impact on their social interaction and reduces mental health problems that can arise from isolation.
During the repair and review sessions, Elaine encourages the use of hearing aids by ensuring patients and carers feel confident in their use, know how to troubleshoot, and have contact details in case of any problems. The patient is then able to self-manage the use of their hearing aids as far as possible – improving confidence and increasing use.
One in three adults with learning disabilities suffer with sensory impairment, including hearing loss.
Elaine Pearson, a runner-up in the Health Education England Allied Health Professions Patients' Forum Award for outstanding achievement in this field from the Advancing Healthcare Awards, said: “Hearing aid design uses microchips, computerisation and digitised sound processing, and we often find people encounter common problems with everyday use, particularly in those who suffer with learning disabilities. This dedicated service provides extra support to individuals who may struggle with volume settings and programming so that they can successful use the device to improve their quality of life. I feel privileged to have been nominated for a national award recognising the extra mile technicians go to support patients, and that more patients with learning difficulties and their carers are being given the correct information in the clearest way possible.”
The Advancing Healthcare Awards celebrate the achievements of healthcare scientists and technicians throughout the UK.