There appears to be a policy within the National Health Services Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) that the onset of hearing loss is more troublesome than life changing, why else would the two CCGs in my county of Shropshire be considering to NOT provide free hearing aids to patients who are diagnosed with Mild to Moderate hearing loss
As shown in the diagram below, this equates to
A Mild hearing loss is a loss of 26 to 40 decibels
A Moderate hearing loss is a loss of 41 to 70 decibels
As shown in the diagram below, normal speech can be found between 20 and 60 decibels
Both Telford and Shropshire CCGs are considering condemning a patient diagnosed with a mild to moderate hearing loss to complete isolation, possibly unable to work because they cannot hear conversation within the work place, they will no longer be able to take any active part in society, even family, they will not be able to use a telephone, hear the radio or the television, this will undoubtably lead to depression, which will lead to being reliant on prescription drugs, and benefits, which in extreme circumstances could lead to suicidal actions if not thoughts.
There is, of course the added complication of dementia, losing ones hearing has been proven to be a major contributor to the onset of dementia in our older patients
I am sure for the price that the NHS are asked to pay for the hearing aids that the above scenario is going to cost each CCG more than the cost of the appliances, and for the price of the hearing aids, that patient will still be able to take an active part in their community
With a mild to moderate loss, it is possible that the patients moderate hearing loss will be in the high tone frequency, this will mean that they cannot hear consonants, the slide below demonstrates a sentence with them removed, can you work it out? Don’t forget the patient has to attempt this every time they hear you speak!
Before the provision of hearing aids is restricted to those with moderate to severe hearing loss can we please think of the affect of having one in four adults in the West Midlands who for whatever reason has lost the ability to understand any form of speech, from family, friends , radio, television, theatre , cinema, train services, emergency services.