The Sight and Sound Centre
The brand new Sight and Sound Centre at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), is a dedicated and purpose-built home-from-home for children and young people with sight and hearing loss.
Why is the sight and sound centre so important?
We all sense the world around us differently. But for children with sight and hearing loss, it can be an overwhelming and frightening place.
At Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), the busy, noisy and bright main entrance can be hard to navigate, and finding the way to clinics can be difficult, with lots of signage and multiple check-in desks. The current waiting area layout makes it hard to communicate by lip reading or sign language, and the noise levels can make verbal conversation impossible.
The facilities at GOSH didn’t offer enough dedicated rooms for the ophthalmology and audiology teams – staff were forced to move equipment around the corridors and adapt to spaces that aren’t designed for their specialist work.
The complex tests staff carry out require children to be engaged, calm and co-operative, though the existing facilities can make it difficult for staff to gather the important information they need to assess, support or treat each child.
Children and young people with hearing and sight loss, like Beth and Iona (pictured above), are the largest group of outpatients to visit GOSH, with around 8,000 patients seen each year. These young patients have complex and rare conditions, and they may need to visit multiple specialists from many teams, including Audiology and Ophthalmology.
The new centre
The GOSH Sight and Sound Centre, supported by Premier Inn, is the UK’s first dedicated facility for children with sight and hearing loss.
With the help of an incredible £10 million pledge from our partner Premier Inn and Restaurants, the incredible supporters of GOSH Charity contributed £25 million towards the opening of this unique new centre, welcoming its first patients on Monday 21 June 2021.
One dedicated building is now home to specialist outpatient facilities for the Audiology and Ophthalmology departments, with a carefully designed layout that means children don't need to navigate confusing hospital corridors during their visit. It includes state-of-the-art soundproofed booths for hearing tests, an eye imaging suite, a dispensing opticians and other testing facilities.
Children with sight and hearing loss were involved in designing the centre, helping to create a welcoming, comfortable environment that is fully accessible and easy to navigate. Features include a new welcoming arrival zone, artworks with sensory elements and the Valentine Sensory Garden, with plants that children can touch and smell (pictured above).
The carefully crafted interior creates a sense of homeliness, helping to relax children before, during and after their outpatient appointments. This will help clinical teams carry out sensitive hearing and sight tests more quickly and effectively, with the co-operation of the child.