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October 1, 2003

Hearing aids uptake boosted

From: BBC News, UK - Oct 1, 2003

Hearing aid services are to receive an extra £9m investment from the Scottish Executive.

Deputy Health Minister Tom McCabe said in total, £20m was being invested over five years to tackle hearing problems.

The Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) welcomed the announcement and said it would help provide more people with digital hearing aids.

More than 170,000 people in Scotland depend on NHS hearing aids, according to the institute.

Mr McCabe said: "Hearing impairment affects 15% of the population and we must start making strides in alleviating the problems it causes.

"That is why the executive's goal is that anyone who needs a hearing aid should be provided with one that fully meets their clinical needs.

"They should have it properly fitted and receive comprehensive support to help them make best use of the aid."

'Excellent news'

In February, the executive announced £8m to implement the recommendations of a report from the Public Health Institute of Scotland (PHIS) on NHS audiology services.

NHS Scotland also received £1.5m in January and £750,000 in April 2002 for audiology services.

The RNID believes digital hearing aids can improve a patient`s hearing by as much as 40%.

Maggie Williams, director of RNID Scotland, said: "It is excellent news the executive is injecting this additional funding.

"It will ensure patients benefit from advanced digital hearing aid technology provided by a modernised health service."