Hear hear! New equipment improves appointments for young audiology patients

12 Jul 2019

The Paediatric Audiology team, part of Mile End Hospital, see children with a variety of conditions related to their hearing. 

New equipment means that diagnostic appointments are quicker and more enjoyable for children and their families. It’s even reducing the number of patients needing general anaesthetic.

New play modules for a happier waiting room

“Our team aims to deliver a positive experience to our young patients and their families, but the environment did not endorse that," says Paediatric Audiologist Rebecca, based at the West Ham Lane Health Centre. 

"When entering our waiting room, some patients became very distressed, and we didn’t have any sensory equipment to help settle them into their new environment." 

Thanks to our funding, the team have purchased four play modules (pictured right) for the waiting room. The sensory toys are specially designed to engage a child's attention by stimulating one or more of the five senses and they make the area inviting and fun for children waiting for their appointment.

Paediatric Audiologist Kay (pictured, main photo) adds: “We really love all the stuff, it’s made such a difference. The kids are loving the waiting area.”

Sensory equipment is making a difference

In the clinic room, children need to hold still for several minutes while an instrument is inserted into their ear for diagnostic tests.

Many children find this difficult and uncomfortable – particularly the high proportion of children the team sees who have complex and sensory needs.

For some patients, it was taking many appointments to obtain results. Some children even needed to undergo general anaesthetic.

However, new sensory equipment is making a huge difference for patients by calming them down and distracting them during the procedures. The equipment, known as the ‘Sensory Voyager’ includes mirrors, a bubble tube and fibre optics, and a remote control for children to change the colours.

“This equipment has definitely helped us get results for kids that we wouldn’t have before and has saved us from needing general anaesthetic on a few kids already.

“The children can be scared and nervous, but this helps to distract them. One child the other day came up and put his head right on it."

The equipment is portable so if children are becoming distressed in the waiting area, the Sensory Voyager can be brought out to guide the patient into the clinic room.

“We’re very grateful for this funding and happy that it’s allowed us to improve our service for our patients and their families.”

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