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Volume 407: debated on Thursday 19 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice his Department is issuing to schools regarding the risks to hearing associated with loud music. [117856]

I have been asked to reply.Our health and safety advice to schools directs them to Health and Safety Commission guidance specific to schools, which mentions noise as a risk that should be managed. Health and safety law overall applies to everyone in a school, including pupils. We will repeat advice on exposure to noise in forthcoming guidance on acoustic design of schools.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what treatments are available to the hard of hearing on the NHS; and what support is given to deaf groups to assist people who have recently lost their hearing. [119561]

Following diagnosis of hearing impairment, the national health service will provide hearing aids or ear surgery—including fitting of cochlear implants and bone anchored hearing aids, as appropriate given the cause, type and degree of hearing impairment and the individual's needs. Support and hearing therapy available includes counselling, communication training/tactics, tinnitus therapy and help in coping with balance problems.The Department provides funding to a number of organisations who assist people with hearing loss. For the current financial year, this includes the Royal National Institute for Deaf People, National Association of Deafened People, National Deaf Children's Society, Link Centre for Deafened People, Deafblind UK, Sense, The Ear Foundation, Sign, UK Council on Deafness and the Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf People.