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Hearing Aids

Volume 173: debated on Thursday 24 May 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many representations he has received, and from whom, in the past three years concerning the availability of a wider range of shades for National Health Service hearing aids;

(2) if he will make a wider range of shades available for National Health Service hearing aids; and if he will make a statement.

At least one model in each of the standard ranges of National Health Service post-aural hearing aids is available in dark brown as well as beige.I am advised by the Mersey regional health authority, which negotiates the national contracts for standard range models on behalf of the NHS, that demand for the dark brown models was very low until about two years ago. Since then an increased demand for dark brown aids led to a temporary shortage which caused a number of representations to Mersey RHA by hearing aid centres. I am pleased to say that this problem has been resolved and that both colours are now readily available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hearing aids have been distributed by the National Health Service for each of the past 10 years to (a) children under 16 years of age and (b) adults over 16 years of age; and if he will make a statement.