Department of Health Skip to content

Please note that this website has a UK government access keys system.

Deafness and hearing impairment

  • Last modified date:
    24 February 2010
two women using sign language

An overview of policy and resources related to deafness and hearing impairment including the National Audiology Framework.

An introduction to the National Audiology Framework

The Department of Health recognised that despite the success of the Modernising Hearing Aid Services Programme, there remained significant challenges in waiting times for audiology services. The Department worked with key stakeholders to address this challenge and developed the national audiology framework, Improving Access to Audiology Services in England, which was published in March 2007.

The framework has resulted in substantial progress

Since the publication of the framework there has been substantial progress. A number of key steps have already been implemented and the Department has improved the data on audiology by collecting monthly details of all audiology assessments together with a quarterly census of waits for all diagnostic tests. The data shows that the number of people waiting over 6 weeks has fallen from 101,300 in April 2007 to 94,200 in May 2007, and the number of people waiting over 13 weeks has dropped from 79,900 in April to 73,400 in May.

The Department is also currently piloting the collection of waiting times from referral to treatment, for all direct access referrals into audiology.

Good practice guidance

Provision of services for adults with tinnitus: a good practice guide

Published: 28 January 2009

Further to the publication in March 2007 of Improving access to audiology services in England, this document provides good practice and evidence to help commissioners and service providers to make changes to the way that tinnitus services are delivered, and in particular to reduce waits for patients with the most common hearing difficulties.

Provision of adult balance services: a good practice guide

Published: 28 January 2009

Further to the publication in March 2007 of Improving access to audiology services in England, this document provides good practice and evidence to help commissioners and service providers to make changes to the way that adult balance services are delivered, and in particular to reduce waits for patients with the most common hearing difficulties.

Provision of services for adults with tinnitus

Published: 29 January 2008

Further to the publication of 'Improving access to audiology services in England' in March 2007, this document provides good practice and evidence to help commissioners and service providers to make changes to the way that adult tinnitus services are delivered, and in particular to reduce waits for patients with the most common hearing difficulties.

Transforming adult hearing services for patients with hearing difficulty

Published: June 2007

This good practice guide includes model pathways for the delivery of care. An audiology advisory board has been created to support implementation and to review progress on the key deliverables. Progress has also been made on testing the new assess-and-fit technology, which enables a hearing aid to be fitted on the same day as assessment. 

The Strategic Health Authorities have provided assurance that their activity plans for 2007 to 2008, (including plans to procure more from the independent sector), will deliver the six week maximum wait for all diagnostic tests, including audiology assessments, by March 2008.

Access keys