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Deaf people in East Staffordshire may lose free hearing aids due to cutbacks

Tuesday 22 September
Deaf people in East Staffordshire may lose free hearing aids due to cutbacks

- September 22 at 2:00 PM

Hundreds of people in East Staffordshire with mild to moderate hearing loss may no longer be eligible for free NHS hearing aids, if new proposals come into force.

East Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is one of four CCGs looking at changing the way it commissions services for hearing aids to save money.

The changes would mean that anyone with hearing loss of less than 41 decibels and those with moderate hearing loss (41 to 55 decibels) would no longer be eligible for hearing aids on the NHS, unless their hearing can be shown to affect their everyday life.

This also means that many already with the aids will not have them replaced when they wear out.

However, the policy change would not impact anyone aged under 18, anyone with hearing loss since childhood, or with a learning disability.

Paul Breckell, chief executive of Action on Hearing Loss, which is campaigning against the proposals, said, “Hearing loss is a significant health issue, which, if diagnosed or unmanaged, can lead to isolation, dementia and mental health problems.

“Hearing aids are vital in helping people who rely on them to communicate better, stay in work and continue to have an active life, and are the only viable treatment.”

It was revealed at Staffordshire County Council’s healthy Staffordshire select committee yesterday that 15 per cent of patients with hearing loss would no longer have access to hearing aids.

Andrew Donald, chief officer at Stafford and Surrounds CCG, said, “People with mild to moderate hearing loss will not routinely be able to access a hearing aid.”

Staffordshire County Council’s scrutiny committee agreed to organise a workshop with audiology professionals to explore the proposals in more detail.

The CCG’s 12-week consultation on the proposals will begin on September 27.



Article source: Elizabeth Fry, www.burtonmail.co.uk



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