If you have a health issue or concern, your first appointment to speak with someone about it usually takes place at your GP surgery and is normally booked with a GP or practice nurse. In some GP practices, you may be able to access other services directly without a prior GP appointment. Audiology is one example of a direct access service. Audiology is not available to all GP practices in the Health Board but there is a plan to extend the service to all practices over the next three years.
The GP based Audiology service is for people who are experiencing difficulty with their hearing or bothersome tinnitus (noises in your ears) but do not have an NHS hearing aid. If you have an NHS hearing aid and feel that your hearing has changed, or you are having difficulty with your hearing aid/s or troubled by tinnitus symptoms, please contact your local Audiology department. If you have moved to the area and were issued with an NHS hearing aid from another service, you can contact the local Audiology department to register your details. You do not need to contact your GP service.
The GP based Audiology Service can see patients aged 5 years and over as long as there are no current ear health issues at the time of the appointment such as an ear infection. These require medical assessment and should be seen by the Practice Nurse or GP. If the problem is caused by wax blocking the ear canal there are options to treat this. Find out more information about how to manage a build up of earwax.
The GP based Audiology Service can also assess and treat adult patients with a very common balance condition which results in short lived episodes of spinning when the head is moved in certain positions. If the spinning sensation (known as vertigo) goes on for longer than a few minutes it may be more appropriate to see your GP first.
If your GP practice does not yet have an Audiology Service (as the service is being rolled out gradually across North Wales), you will need to discuss any concerns about your hearing etc directly with your GP. They can decide if direct referral to the hospital based Audiology service or ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) for further assessment is required.
If an Audiology service is available at your GP practice you can book an appointment directly with the reception team, or request one when doing an online e-consult/ appointment request.
Find out if this service is available at your local GP surgery:
You will be seen by an Advanced Audiology Practitioner. These are experienced Audiologists with additional training to assess and treat patients at their GP surgery where possible.
If you have a problem with your hearing, the Audiologist will look down your ears and do a hearing test. If you have a hearing loss and would like to try something to help (such as a hearing aid), you will be referred to the hospital audiology team for further assessment. If your hearing loss is due to a temporary blockage such as earwax, or a head cold affecting your ears, appropriate treatment options will be discussed.
If you require assistance with your tinnitus (noises in your ears) your ears will be checked and hearing assessed during the appointment. The Audiologist can signpost you to suitable information to help manage your tinnitus. If you have a hearing loss, a hearing aid may also help. In some people with tinnitus, a referral to the hospital for further assessment may be discussed during the appointment. This is usually when the tinnitus has been present for a while in one ear only, or you need some extra help to manage it.
If you have symptoms of positional vertigo (short lived spinning sensation when you move your head in certain positions) the Audiologist may be able to treat this during the appointment at your GP surgery. Treatment involves moving your head in a series of positions. If your symptoms continue despite treatment, or you are unable to have the treatment due to a problem with your neck or back, you will be referred to a hospital based service to be seen by the Audiology Balance team or ENT.
If you would like to know more about the GP based Audiology service (if available at your GP practice), then please ask reception for further details and arrange an appointment if required.