Digital hearing aid service to be launched

The Modernising Hearing Aid Service (MHAS) has confirmed the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital will become a site for the introduction of digital hearing aids.

The hospital’s Audiology  department is currently gearing up for the introduction of the digital aids by November this year with the purchase of new equipment, recruitment of new staff and training for staff.

The university hospital department treats around 11,000 people with hearing aids in Norfolk every year. In other areas of the country demand from the public on news of the introduction of digital aids has been phenomenal and hospital staff are asking that people be patient while the service is introduced.

Dr John Fitzgerald, Head of Audiology at NNUH, said: “We can’t introduce this service overnight but we know many people are very keen to have digital aids however we do have to gear up for the new service and we’d ask that people please be patient.

“Whilst it’s tremendous news for local patients that we have been funded to introduce a new digital hearing aid service, under Department of Health rules it won’t be the case that everyone is eligible to get a new digital aid.”

The central Norfolk Primary Care Trusts are part-funding this development adding to funds from the Department of Health. Tim Praill, Director of Acute Commissioning in Southern Norfolk PCT, said, “This is a keenly awaited improvement that will bring a big improvement to many people’s lives.”

Digital Hearing Aid information

What are digital hearing aids?

  • Digital aids are not necessarily smaller than analogue aids but they can give better  clarity of sound
  • The aids are “digital” because have a tiny computer inside that processes sounds more precisely than analogue aids

Who’s eligible for digital hearing aids?

  • The Department of Health has said that if you have had your current NHS hearing aid in the last 3 years you will not be eligible for a digital hearing aid for the next few years.
  • For existing hearing aid users, once we have a digital service, only patients whose   hearing has become significantly worse since their current hearing aid was issued   can be considered for a review appointment in the first year or so of the new service.
  • If you have never had a hearing aid and are worried about your hearing you do need to see your GP first.
  • Once the new service is running, patients waiting for a first hearing aid will get a digital one if their test shows they’d benefit from one.
  • We hope to replace children’s hearing aids when they attend for their regular review, once the digital service has started.
  • We currently see over 11,000 hearing aid patients a year and the new service is expected to increase demand, so please be patient.

Thursday 3rd of July 2003 09:00:20 AM