Isle of Man

General Information

The Isle of Man, also known simply as Mann, is a self-governing Crown dependency in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann and is represented by a Lieutenant Governor. Foreign relations and defence are the responsibility of the British Government.

The island has been inhabited since before 6500 BC. Gaelic cultural influence began in the 5th century and the Manx language, a branch of the Gaelic languages, emerged. In 627, Northumbria conquered the Isle of Man along with most of Mercia. In the 9th century, Norsemen established the Kingdom of the Isles. Magnus III, King of Norway, was also known as King of Mann and the Isles between 1099 and 1103. In 1266, the island became part of Scotland under the Treaty of Perth, after being ruled by Norway. After a period of alternating rule by the kings of Scotland and England, the island came under the feudal lordship of the English Crown in 1399. The lordship revested into the British Crown in 1765, but the island never became part of the Kingdom of Great Britain or its successor the United Kingdom: it retained its status as an internally self-governing Crown dependency.

The Isle of Man is located in the middle of the northern Irish Sea, almost equidistant from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland (closest), and Wales (farthest). It is 52 kilometres (32 mi) long and, at its widest point, 22 kilometers (14 mi) wide. It has an area of around 572 square kilometres (221 sq mi).[ Besides the island of Mann itself, the political unit of the Isle of Man includes some nearby small islands: the seasonally inhabited Calf of Man, Chicken Rock on which stands an unmanned lighthouse, St Patrick’s Isle and St Michael’s Isle. The last two of these are connected to the main island by permanent roads/causeways.

At the 2011 census, the Isle of Man was home to 84,497 people, of whom 27,938 resided in the island’s capital, Douglas and 9,273 in the adjoining village of Onchan. The population rose 5.5% between the 2006 and 2011 censuses. By country of birth, those born in the Isle of Man were the largest group (48.1%), while those born in the United Kingdom were the next largest group at 42.2% (35.9% in England, 3.2% in Scotland, 2% in Northern Ireland and 1.1% in Wales), 1.9% in the Republic of Ireland and 0.2% in the Channel Islands. The remaining 7.5% were born elsewhere in the world, with 2.4% coming from EU countries (other than the UK and Ireland). The census also reported 1,823 people who claim a knowledge of the Manx language.

The United Kingdom is responsible for the island’s defence and ultimately for good governance, and for representing the island in international forums, while the island’s own parliament and government have competence over all domestic matters.[34]

The island’s parliament, Tynwald, is claimed to have been in continuous existence since 979 or earlier, purportedly making it the oldest continuously governing body in the world, though evidence supports a much later date. Tynwald is a bicameral or tricameral legislature, comprising the House of Keys (directly elected by universal suffrage with a voting age of 16 years) and the Legislative Council (consisting of indirectly elected and ex-officio members). These two bodies meet in joint session as Tynwald Court.

The executive branch of government is the Council of Ministers, which is composed of members of Tynwald. It is headed by the Chief Minister, currently (2016) Howard Quayle MHK. Vice-regal functions of the Head of State are performed by a Lieutenant Governor.

Health and social care on the Isle of Man is the responsibility of the Department of Health and Social Care (Isle of Man). Healthcare is free for residents and visitors from the UK.

Offshore banking, manufacturing, and tourism form key sectors of the economy of the Isle of Man, a British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea.

The government’s policy of offering incentives to high-technology companies and financial institutions to locate on the island has expanded employment opportunities in high-income industries. As a result, agriculture and fishing, once the mainstays of the economy, now make declining contributions to the Island’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP). Banking and other services now contribute the great bulk of GDP. The stability of the Government and openness for business make the Isle of Man an attractive alternative jurisdiction (DAW Index ranked 3).

Trade is mostly with the United Kingdom. The Isle of Man has free access to European Union markets for goods, but only has restricted access for services, people, or financial products.

The Isle of Man is a low tax economy with no capital gains tax, wealth tax, stamp duty, death duty or inheritance tax[1] and income tax rates of 10% and 20%; corporation tax is at 0%.

The culture of the Isle of Man is influenced by its Celtic and, to a lesser extent, its Norse origins, though its close proximity to the United Kingdom, popularity as a UK tourist destination, and recent mass immigration by British migrant workers has meant that British influence has been dominant since the Revestment period. Recent revival campaigns have attempted to preserve the surviving vestiges of Manx culture after a long period of Anglicisation, and significant interest in the Manx language, history and musical tradition has been the result.

History of Audiology/ Aural Care

The Isle of Man has a government/public funded NHS service similar to that of the UK; however, the Isle of Man Health Service is not part of the UK NHS service. The Health service on the Island offers many of the “free at the point of delivery” healthcare service as in the UK although some specialist areas of medicine requires off island referral to specialist Centre’s.

The government provides a free, fully comprehensive diagnostic audiology, balance and hearing aid users to registered residents on the Island as part of its health service which is paid for through taxation and national health insurance contributions. Any person of any age can access audiology services via GP referral, self-referral and referral via Ear, Nose and Throat Department.

There are also 5 high street hearing aid dispensers located around the island.

NHS Audiology availability in the island began at the same time as the UK, however, it was very rudimentary and basic until the mid-1980s with just one room and one Audiologist in addition to school screening. This service covered the entire population including adults and children.

In 1985, an extra audiologist was recruited and this single room, two staff member set-up continued until the mid-1990’s, covering again, both adults and children. In the late 1990, the service split into an adult service and a children’s service, both based at the hospital but in different areas. Targeted neonatal screening also began in the special care baby unit.   

In 2005, the Island built a new hospital and the adult’s service was relocated to a new, purpose built and larger department with 3 staff. The children’s audiology clinic remained at the old hospital and under different management whilst the newborn screen service also relocated to the new hospital. This had the effect of fragmenting the service.

In 2005, the children’s audiology commenced the provision of digital hearing aids whilst the adult’s population waited a further 2 years for this to be implemented.

The main reason for historical low audiology staff numbers was that until 2011, there was a cap on the number of people the government could employ due to economic reasons. This cap was however released in 2011 allowing the employment of a significant number of clinical, administrative and screening personnel.

This also give the opportunity to completely overhaul and reorganize the structure of audiology services, defragment and join up services and thoroughly modernize the Islands audiology services. This was achieved and resulted in an award for the huge effort it took to achieve our objective.

Today, we have a modern audiology service with 10 staff, many with extended roles, using the latest equipment and prescribing top quality digital hearing aids. The service continues to grow and innovate which indeed resulted in a further award nomination in 2017.

Hearing loss incidence and prevalence

Hearing loss affects over 10 million adults and 45,000 children in the UK. This equates to 1 in 6 of the population. By 2031, it is estimated that 14.5 million people in the UK, approximately 1 in 5 of the population, will have a hearing loss. 1 The most common form of hearing loss is age-related, and the prevalence of deafness approximately doubles with every decade of life (Health, NHS England and Department of, 2015)

The Incidence and prevalence of hearing loss in the Isle of Man mirrors that of the UK (1 in 6). This means that using the 2011 population statistic of 84,497, there are circa 14,082 people with hearing loss in the Isle of Man.



The Isle of Man has no institutions offering Audiology training programs. Potential students are required to attend a UK institution and follow a UK approved program of training,

There are three different entry levels into Audiology at the moment. (British Academy of Audiology, 2017)

Foundation degree / Diploma in Higher Education in Hearing Aid Audiology (undergraduate diploma)

This type of qualification involves working as a trainee while completing the course. Graduates are eligible to register to work as a Hearing Aid Dispenser with the HCPC on completion. This course requires employment in the right healthcare context with access to patients/clients as well as supervision from a registered audiologist or hearing aid dispenser.

BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science (Practitioner Training Programme) (Audiology)

This course is offered at several universities in the UK. At the time of writing these include:

University of Southampton

University of Swansea:

University of Manchester:

Aston University:

Middlesex University:

University of Leeds:

De Montfort University:

University of Sunderland:

Anglia Ruskin University: 

Postgraduate MSc Level

Pre-registration level.

At the time of writing the courses below allow graduates from related honours degrees the opportunity to study Audiology. 

MSc Clinical Science (Practitioner Training Programme)                      

Aston University: MSc Clinical Science (Neurosensory Sciences)

University of Birmingham: MSc Clinical Science (Blood Sciences)

King’s College London: MSc Clinical Science (Medical Physics), MSc Clinical Science (Clinical Engineering)

University of Liverpool: MSc Clinical Science (Medical Physics)

There are other MSc Audiology pre-registration options available as well at:

Queen Margaret University
University College London
University of Manchester
University of Southampton 

Audiology Practice : Public Vs Private

NHS Audiology and hearing aids are provided free of charge to all residents. Services are paid for by taxation and National Insurance Contributions.

Adults can access services by General Practitioner referral, referral from the Ear Nose and Throat Department and, subject to certain criteria, by self-referral. At no point in the treatment pathway does the service user pay for any NHS provision except for lost/misplaced hearing aids, for which there is a small charge.

The service provides the latest digital hearing aids from the current NHS portfolio of available hearing aids. The patient cannot choose type, design, colour, etc.

Children are referred from the Newborn hearing screening service, school screening, ENT Department and general practitioners. Again, services are free and children are issued with hearing aids from the current NHS portfolio of Paediatric digital hearing aids. Children are exempt from lost hearing aid charges. Children can choose colours for their hearing aids but again, do not choose design, model etc.

The main differences between the public and private sector on the island are:

  • Choice: In the private sector, the patient can choose from a range of hearing aids whereas in the NHS they cannot
  • Waiting times: Patients visiting the private sector are typically seen and fitted more quickly than via the NHS.

The private sector is however; notoriously expensive with hearing aid costs running into thousands of pounds hence, the vast majority of hearing aid users on the Island acquire their aids from the NHS as opposed to the Private sector.

Services offered by Physicians


Otolaryngologists in the Isle of Man offer a wide selection of ear related services. Services may include: diagnosis and management of acute and chronic pathologies, balance disorders, traumatic injuries, and congenital malformations; surgical management of pathology and tumors.

They liaise closely with specialist centres in the UK, referring patients to these centres when more specialized treatment is required, such as Cochlear Implantation, BAHA surgery and for more specialized neuro-otology.


The children’s audiology clinic is supported part time by a Pediatrician who will deal with complex or special needs children requiring long term audiological care and they liaise closely with other specialties such as Speech and Language therapy, Paediatric medicine, occupational therapy and children’s hospitals based in the UK

Audiological Services 

Widely Available:Screening / diagnostic audiometry including full range of speech/Speech in noise tests

  • Screening / diagnostic tympanometry

  • Screening / diagnostic Stapedial reflexes

  • Screening / Diagnostic ABR (Threshold and Neurological)

  • TE and DP OAE

  • Aural (re)habilitation / Digital hearing aids

  • Cerumen Management, microsuction and foreign body removal.

  • Tinnitus and Hyperacusis assessment and counselling / Tinnitus retraining therapy

  • Vestibular and balance assessment including Video Head Impulse Test

  • Vestibular rehabilitation (In development)

  • Ward and Domiciliary visits

  • VRA/BOA/ Distraction and performance tests

  • Hearing aid repair clinics

  • Swim plug and noise protection Provision

  • Grommet Review Clinics

  • Direct and self-referrals

  • Education / training in Audiology / Deaf Awareness

  • NOT currently available (these patients are referred to specialist centres in the UK:

  • BAHA fitting or adjustment

  • Cochlear implant fitting or adjustment


The table below shows the professionals who regularly interact with individuals with hearing loss. The ratios are estimates calculated based on the population of 84,497.


Regulatory Bodies

  • Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
  • Academy of Health Care Science (AHCS)
  • Registration Council for Clinical Physiologists (RCCP)

All audiologists in the Isle of Man have to be registered with at least one of the above regulatory bodies, maintain a CPD portfolio subject to the regulatory bodies requirement and abide by its Code of Conduct.

Professional Organisations:

  • American Academy of Audiology
  • British Academy of Audiology
  • British Society of Audiology
  • IDA Institute

The above organisations play a significant role in the Island. Given our remote and isolated location, it is essential that Audiologist are kept up to date in relation to developments within the profession. Having access to the professional bodies websites, Facebook and other media allows us to remain informed and up to date on such developments.


The table below is an accurate representation of what services Audiologists can provide in relation to their levels of experience and qualification in the Island. This largely mirrors the UK Audiology.

NHS clinical audiologists do not require a license to dispense hearing aids although they are expected to be registered with a regulatory body. The same applies to high street hearing aid dispensers.


There are several philanthropic organizations to assist families and individuals with hearing loss. A few are listed below:

  • Manx Deaf Society
  • Manx Blind Welfare
  • British Tinnitus Association
  • Meniere’s Society
  • Vestibular Disorders Association
  • Action on Hearing Loss
  • Veterans Agency / War Pensioners)
  • National Deaf Children’s Society
  • Hearing Link / Hearing Concern
  • Cochlear Implant Users Association
  • British Acoustic Neuroma Association
  • Red Cross Crisis Befriending Team
  • Age Concern


Currently our main barrier is our ageing population in comparison to our resources and facilities. More and more people are accessing Audiology services and it is predicted the service will be operating at capacity within the next few years without scope for further resources.

The service, where time permits will take part in research. Since 2015, we have been actively involved in research with GOSHAWK, a company that has designed a solution to the difficulties faced by hearing impaired people using mobile phones. Mobile phone signals are designed for people with normal hearing and GOSHAWK, along with leading academics, have invented a platform that amplifies the incoming phone signal to a patient’s hearing thresholds. They chose the Isle of Man (and our service) to test this product due to it requiring a 4G telecoms network which at the time of testing, only the Isle of Man had a robust 4G network up and running.



Meet our Author

Mr. Stephen Griffiths

Mr. Stephen Griffiths is Head of Audiology Services in the Isle of Man. He is registered with the Academy for Health Care Science and the Registration Council for Physiologists. He is an International Fellow of the American Academy of Audiology in addition to holding full memberships with the British Academy of Audiology and the British Society of Audiology.


Telephone: +44 (1624) 650417