Babies and children experiencing deafness or balance difficulties have a brand-new facility dedicated to their care at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton.
A new Paediatric Audiology Department officially opened on 11 September 2023 following a £3m investment by University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust.
The ribbon was cut by two-year-old Jayden, one of the many young patients cared for by paediatric audiologists at the specialist unit.
Head of Audiology, Manuel Loureiro, said: “It has been wonderful to see the reaction and smiles from our young patients as they visit our amazing new department.”
“It is such a contrast from our previous children’s service, which was unfortunately provided alongside adult audiology in the old and soon to be demolished Barry Building.”
“Now, we have a new department worthy of our service, dedicated to our younger patients and located in our wonderful children’s hospital.”
The Paediatric Audiology Department offers state of the art facilities and equipment in purpose-designed, child-centred accommodation.
Each year, more than 1,500 appointments will be attended by young patients and their families who are cared for by the Trust’s paediatric audiology team.
With four silent testing booths, compared to just one previously, and a new specialist balance assessment room, the unit has been purpose-designed to improve patient experience and reduce waiting times.
Paediatric audiologist and former head of department, Dr Rob Low, said: “Our new department represents a huge investment in children’s audiological care in Sussex and we’re really excited about what it could mean for thousands of local children with deafness.
“Now, we can explore, with confidence, how to expand the specialist audiology services we provide. For instance, we have the potential to offer more treatments and provide support sooner to reduce the impact unrecognised deafness and balance disorders can have on a child’s social development and education.”
On 11 September, the paediatric audiology team welcomed families, colleagues, and charity partners to celebrate the official opening and their new department.
Guests included the Rockinghorse Children’s Charity, which donated thousands of pounds worth of toys to both entertain and help diagnose children through their interaction and play with the gifts.
The opening of the children’s department in The Alex means all audiology patients visiting the Royal Sussex County Hospital will benefit from state-of-the-art facilities, following the part-relocation of the Adult Audiology Department into the new Louisa Martindale Building earlier in the summer.