On November 27 the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) released the draft of its long-awaited guidance on the assessment and management of hearing loss in adults and has launched a consultation to welcome feedback.
We will be submitting a formal response to the guidelines and want to ensure that people with deafness and hearing loss have their voices heard. To have your views included in our response, please tweet us or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime, this is our initial statement about the draft guidelines:
“The development of the new NICE guidelines has come at a critical time for people with hearing loss. Over recent years, we have seen budget cuts to audiology services and proposals to ration hearing aids across England. This has resulted from huge misconceptions about the impact of hearing loss and about the use and benefit of hearing aids. Clear and robust evidence, including the highest level of evidence from randomised control trials, demonstrates that hearing aids are beneficial for people with hearing loss and provide a lifeline for many who seek help. Moreover, hearing aids are the primary form of clinical management for people with hearing loss and they are cost effective.
Action on Hearing Loss is very pleased to see that the draft NICE guidance recognises this evidence and recommends hearing aids are issued to all those who would benefit from them. We are hugely concerned about the inequality in access to hearing aids across England: in particular, in North Staffordshire, where a threshold has been introduced, restricting access to many who could benefit from the use of hearing aids. These guidelines will help us to ensure that such rationing is prevented.
We also welcome the inclusion of ear wax treatment in the guidance: it is the most common cause of temporary hearing loss and is a major cause of hearing aid failure.
The guidelines set out the importance of wax removal services for people accessing audiology for an assessment appointment and for hearing aid users. Without such services, wax can prevent assessment; waste appointment times and prevent hearing aid users from gaining benefit from their hearing aids. Ear wax may seem like such an insignificant thing, but with 11 million people in the UK with hearing loss it’s an important factor.”
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Notes to Editors
Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID) is the national charity helping people confronting deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss to live the life they choose. Action on Hearing Loss enables them to take control of their lives and remove the barriers in their way, giving people support and care, developing technology and treatments, and campaigning for equality.