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      Seeing your GP

      If you have hearing loss, your GP will be able to check for any temporary causes of your condition and refer you to a hearing specialist for further tests and care.

      When should I see my GP?

      If you think you have hearing loss, we always recommend that you see your GP, so they can check for any temporary causes, such as an ear infection, which can be treated. They will ask you about your symptoms, look in your ears and may carry out some simple tests. If there’s no obvious cause of your condition, you'll need further tests.

      To have these tests free on the NHS, your GP needs to refer you to an audiologist (hearing specialist). If you have trouble getting a referral, ask for a second opinion. Remember, you have the right to have your hearing tested. Tell your GP how your hearing or balance difficulties are interfering with your everyday life.

      If you decide to go privately, you will need to pay for your care and any hearing aids you need.

      Choosing a hearing care provider

      The Any Qualified Provider (AQP) scheme in England means that private hearing care providers can deliver NHS adult-audiology services, providing they meet set requirements.

      If AQP operates in your area, you may be able to choose which service your GP refers you to. Your care and any hearing aids you need will be free. If AQP isn't available in your area, you should still be able to discuss with your GP which local hospital or clinic suits you best.

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      There are other conditions that affect or associated with hearing loss. This page covers some of these such as auditory processing disorder, hyperacusis and trauma.