I qualified as an NHS Audiologist in 1988 after studying for my A Levels at the Nottingham Girls’ High School. Over the 18 years spent at “The Ropewalk” I worked my way up to Chief Audiologist.
My role with the NHS was varied: I worked on the Tinnitus Clinic alongside the late world-renowned Professor Ross Coles; I performed paediatric hearing testing on babies as young as 6 months old, I worked on the Vestibular Clinic (also fondly known as the “Dizzy Clinic”), carrying out diagnostic testing on patients with balance disorders and laterally I was responsible for running an audiology service for adults with learning difficulties (to this date an area of work I miss).
However the day-to day role of an NHS Audiologist is to fit hearing aids. Now, the NHS do a fantastic job, BUT when it comes to hearing aids, it is “one size fits all”. The NHS hearing aids are the standard “Behind-the-ear” model, fitted on either an ear mould or a “slim tube”. It is the same hearing aid for everyone, and the technology is always at least 3 generations behind what is available privately.
I began to feel a little disheartened, I wasn’t able to give my patients the aftercare they needed, and in terms of hearing aids, it isn’t “one size fits all” so when it came to the success of an NHS-fitted aid, if the patient was not getting on very well, there was no other choice other than to go private.
In 2005 I took myself back to college to sit my exams which enabled me to practice in a private capacity. Since then I have worked for 2 major High Street providers and gained experience in fitting the best hearing aid technology in the world. However in this environment we were increasingly pressured by the powers-that-be to hit sales targets and to get as many people through the door to test their hearing. Again, this is not how I want to work. My patients aren’t “targets”. My patients come to me because of my ability as an Audiologist.
To be able to work exactly how I want, having the ability to fit any manufacturer’s hearing aids, not just the ones we were tied into using and to be able to offer as much time and care for my patients, the only option was to set up independently.
As it so happened, Alan Jackson, with whom I have worked for over 10 years, was of the same mind-set. Alan is a fantastic Audiologist, he shares the same standards of care and works in a very similar manner to myself. We are always keen to help each other out and offer assistance on complex cases. In this profession you never stop learning and even after 30 years I always pick up new ideas from him. Put it this way, Alan is the only private Audiologist I would trust to look after my parents’ ears!
So, the Nottingham Hearing Practice was born out of this mutual desire to provide the best hearing care experience for all our patients.
Why are we any different to anyone else in Nottingham? Firstly because were are the most experienced…..we have over 45 years experience between us. Secondly we insist all our patients have free trials on their hearing aids first. With any other provider you have to pay up front for the aids, a not inconsiderable amount of money. You are assured a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied. However there will always be a little doubt in the back of some-one’s mind “what if…?”
Jo Herrod can be seen at our Beeston branch.