Summary of report content
Between March and December 2019, Healthwatch Bexley collected the views of local residents using local audiology services. They listened to over 130 people’s comments on services provided by Queen Mary’s Hospital Sidcup, Specsavers in Bexleyheath, Erith and Sidcup and Bexley Deaf Centre. They also received 51 questionnaire responses, from residents aged from 56 years upwards and visited 25 groups and locations throughout the London Borough of Bexley.
The key issues they identified included perception of need as a barrier preventing some residents from accessing services; patients were not sure if their hearing loss was flagged on their GP records so that reasonable adjustments could be made; over 30% of people with hearing loss felt isolated; respondents were generally happy with audiology services but only half were happy with their hearing aids; many patients had little knowledge or awareness of hearing loops and their benefit.
The report made three recommendations including audiology service providers to promote the use of the hearing loop setting on hearing aids, to collect patient experience feedback, paying particular attention to why patients may not be happy with their hearing aids and to signpost patients to other services in the community such as Bexley Deaf Centre, who may offer help and support with living with hearing loss and learning to lip read.