A new hearing clinic opened in the School of Optometry at Aston University is providing clinical care to students, staff and members of the public while supporting the training of Aston University audiology students.

The clinic, which is situated on the ground floor in the Optometry building on the University campus in Birmingham city centre, is run in partnership with Specsavers and offers hearing tests for free.

Aston University’s audiology team is working with Specsavers to provide hearing tests, dispense hearing aids and also offer counselling and advice alongside a full aftercare package. The clinic can also advise people on personalised noise protection and ear plugs for swimming. It is open to members of the public and accepts NHS referrals.

Claire Wilkes, audiology programme director at Aston University said: “So far the clinic has had a lot of interest and uptake of hearing appointments. We are delighted to be working alongside Specsavers. Many of our students undertake work placements with the company, so we are very happy we’ve been able to grow our partnership further by opening this clinic on campus.”

Specsavers is a key partner of Aston University, with graduates from both audiology and optometry going on to work for them. Last year, 62% of students who were placed in Specsavers clinics for support and training applied for jobs on graduation and got to interview. Of those interviewed, 61% are now employed by Specsavers.

Humah Zaheer, Specsavers audiology director, who runs the clinic added: “I’m delighted to be involved in this initiative.  As an Aston University audiology graduate from 2014 it feels like I’ve come full circle. Being able to offer students an insight into the ‘real’ world of audiology, as well as Specsavers, is a fantastic experience for their career development.

“We’ve also been bowled over with the response from the public and are looking to expand the number of days we open the clinic from next year.”

The hearing clinic on campus will enable students to practice their clinical and communication skills in preparation for long term work placements off campus. The skills lab equipment mimics equipment in the NHS, helping students better prepare for placements.

The hearing clinic is open from 9am until 5pm every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with plans to increase to five days a week in the new year.