Each year we monitor children’s audiology services so we know what support is available and how it’s changing across England. Due to the coronavirus pandemic we did not request information from services in 2020.
What's happening in children's audiology services?
In 2019 we repeated our annual survey of children’s audiology services in England. We’ve compared this with the findings of the previous year to review how paediatric audiology services may have changed.
We found that many services are meeting, or exceeding, good practice – this is certainly something to celebrate! However, there are still a small number of services that are not meeting expected standards.
Some positive findings from the survey are:
- When children are referred to audiology for the first time, they are almost always given an appointment within the expected waiting time – most services now meet the target for referrals to first assessment.
- More children are receiving their replacement earmoulds on time (in 2018 29% of services missed the target for replacing earmoulds, this decreased to 22% in 2019).
- Children with a temporary hearing loss continue to get a wide range of support. There has been a small increase in services offering otovent and bone conduction hearing aids.
- Hearing aid batteries are always provided free of charge. And, almost all services offer coloured hearing aid moulds.
- Services realise how important it is to help prepare deaf young people for their transition to adult audiology – there has been an increase in the range of support that’s on offer.
However, there are still a number of areas that need improvement:
- Children are still waiting too long for hearing aid repairs. In fact, more services are missing their 24 hour target to repair a broken hearing aid (from 56% in 2018 to 64% in 2019).
- Nearly a quarter of services continue to miss their waiting time target for grommet surgery. In some areas, some children face a wait of up to a year…
- Too many deaf children are not being seen often enough by their audiology service – more than half of services told us that deaf children are waiting longer than is clinically appropriate for a follow-up appointment.
- Almost half of services have lost permanent staff members in the last year – services report that they are finding it difficult to recruit experienced staff.
- 75% of services report a Did Not Attend rate that is higher than the NHS average – this means that children are missing vital audiology appointments, which will impact waiting times.
Read the report...
You can read the full report from 2019 below:
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the next report will be published in 2021.
In 2018 we asked children’s audiology services about lots of different areas of their work. You can read the full report below:
In 2014 we gathered evidence from parents of deaf children about the quality of audiology services.
- Download Listen Up!: A report campaigning for higher quality audiology services for deaf children.