The UK’s largest hearing loss charity has condemned plans to cut hearing aids in Devon.
Charity Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID) is condemning the decision, announced yesterday, by the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) to only provide one hearing aid for people who have hearing loss in both ears.
The NEW Devon CCG plans, which come into immediate effect, have been made without any public consultation with local people, health care professionals or the wider hearing loss sector. The decision will have an immediate impact on patients, with clinical evidence showing people with bilateral hearing loss benefit from receiving two hearing aids.
Paul Breckell, Chief Executive of charity Action on Hearing Loss said: ‘We are appalled by NEW Devon CCG’s decision to withhold hearing aids as a means of cutting their costs - hearing loss is a serious health issue, which, if unmanaged, can lead to isolation, dementia and mental health problems.
‘While one hearing aid might be fine in one-to-one conversations, research indicates that two hearing aids are more beneficial in more demanding day-to-day situations such as work meetings or social get-togethers. It is crucial that people with hearing loss in both ears are informed about all of the options available to them and offered two hearing aids if they would benefit them, so that they can continue to live their life without being put at a disadvantage compared with their hearing peers.
‘It’s alarming that this is now the third health group, in a matter of months, to propose cuts to hearing aids; a service that’s been available since the birth of the NHS. We fear these are the first topples in the domino effect that we have been predicting, which is why it is essential that the Government brings forward its long overdue national Action Plan on Hearing Loss.’
Hearing aids are a highly cost-effective intervention and are accepted to be the only viable treatment for people with adult-onset hearing loss.
The Action on Hearing Loss Campaigns Team can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org for people with any concerns regarding the decision by New Devon CCG.