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Hearing Aids

Volume 951: debated on Friday 9 June 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what help or guidance is given to parents or deaf children in the care and use of hearing aids;(2) what provision exists for the proper training of all staff involved in the fitting and use of hearing aids by children.

The amount of instruction given to the parent of a deaf child is a matter for professional judgment and will depend upon a variety of factors, but every parent should be taught how to use and routinely maintain his or her child's hearing aid. My Department has produced an illustrated booklet entitled "General Guidance for Hearing Aid Users" which is available, free of charge, at hearing aid centres, and which should be issued to new hearing aid users to reinforce the instructions given verbally If the right hon. Gentleman is aware of any instance where such advice has not been given, I shall be glad to make inquiries.

The extent to which the training of staff includes instruction in the fitting and use of hearing aids varies according to the discipline concerned. Courses in the theory and the practical use of hearing aids specifically in relation to children are run by the Department of Audiology at the University of Manchester and health authorities may make their own arrangements as necessary for in-service training.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what help, if any, is given to the young deaf adult who has been wearing a non-National Health Service hearing aid provided free of charge while he is a child, but who may be unable to meet the cost of paying for it, as he is required to do from his 18th birthday.

I appreciate the right hon. Gentleman's concern, but at this stage I have nothing to add to the reply which my hon. Friend gave my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, North (Mr. Whitlock) on 16th May.—[Vol. 950, c. 155.]

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is satisfied with the facilities available for testing deaf children's use of hearing aids, to ensure that the aids are working properly.

Hearing aids supplied under my Department's contracts for the National Health Service are subject to inspection and quality assurance procedures before their release to hearing aid centres. Staff at these centres should ensure that aids are functioning correctly at time of issue. Faults which develop later can usually be dealt with by immediate issue of a replacement aid. If the right hon. Member has a specific case in mind and would like to give me details, I shall be glad to make further inquiries.