Audiologists Concerned to Hear Many Hospitals Fail to Provide for Those with Hearing Difficulties

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Published: 11 Sep 2014      

The Community Health Council (CHC) recently visited 68 areas around 22 different hospitals in Wales and were shocked to discover that almost half of them did not have adequate help for those who suffer with hearing difficulties.

The watchdog concluded that these hospitals were not giving enough support to those with hearing difficulties and many audiologists were shocked to find out that in many places hearing loops were either not installed or had been broken.

Hearing loops are used by those with hearing difficulties to alert them to when they are being called for in the hospital and to relay announcements to them, yet 33 of the areas examined failed to supply them.

The devices are required under equality laws to ensure that all patients' needs are met and the Welsh government has stated that it is up to the health boards behind each hospital to ensure that adequate equipment is put in place.

Broken or non-existant loop systems were found at a number of hospitals in the country, including Montgomery County Infirmary, Prince Charles Hospital and Neath Port Talbot Hospital.

The report also surveyed a number of people with hearing issues, with Megan Rennoldson stating that she finds hospitals extremely frustrating as she always finds it difficult to hear what is being said. The problem has become so bad for her that she now takes a friend to the hospital with her to ensure that she doesn't miss any important annoucements.

Cathy O'Sullivan, who took part in the study, also added that the Welsh government had cut the budget for carrying out an audit of the devices this year, which appears to have led to many hearing loops ending up out of commission.

A spokesperson for the government responded to the report, stating "Health boards are responsible for providing services to meet the needs of their local population, including the provision of audiology services and the installation of hearing loops and we expect them to meet patient demand.

"We will also be meeting representatives from the NHS, including the third sector, to help us develop plans to further improve audiology services."

A number of health boards also responded, stating that while newer hospitals were generally built with the hearing loops installed, the difficulty comes with retrofitting older hospitals and it is a task that is still ongoing.

We are certain that audiologists will be keeping a keen eye on the progression of this story, as providing adequate care for those with hearing difficulties is extremely important to ensure that they do not feel like second-class citizens when visiting a hospital.

 

Source - BBC News

 

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