Call for early detection of hearing loss

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A new report suggests that there is an urgent need for hearing loss to be detected earlier due to the fact that the number of affected people is set to increase dramatically.

A report from the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK) states that about 10 million in the UK currently suffer from hearing loss, however it is estimated that by 2031 about 14.1 million may be struggling with hearing.

The authors of the report stated that more should be done to detect hearing problems earlier and have asked for ministers to publish an action plan on how the Government plans to address the situation.

The Chief Executive of the ILC-UK, Baroness Greengross, stated that since the 1990s the number of people suffering hearing loss has increased steadily. She said that in future there will be more older people and many will suffer with hearing loss. She said that consideration should be given to the effect loud rock music and festivals had on the baby-boomers, but iPods and other devices could pose a greater threat to the next generation.

This report comes shortly after it was made known that one local health authority is considering whether or not they should continue providing hearing aids to all patients who use the NHS. The North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group is in consultation as to whether they should continue providing hearing ads for adults who suffer mild to moderate hearing loss due to age.

The charity, Action on Hearing Loss, has condemned this potential move as totally unacceptable.

The Chief Executive of the charity, Paul Breckell, said that hear loss has been placed low down on the hierarchy of health conditions, but the societal, individual and economic cost of hearing loss can no longer be ignored.

He said that they are aware that with the financial pressures on the NHS, some of the CCGs may be tempted to decrease budgets for non-acute services, but the removal of free NHS hearing aids to those who suffer mild to moderate hearing loss is simply not acceptable.

Image Credit: Simon James

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