The national charity Action on Hearing Loss has welcomed the Department of Health's announcement that it will consider how the proposed Long Term Conditions Outcomes Strategy can benefit people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Health minister Paul Burstow said the strategy, which is due to be published later this year, will assess how government departments, local authorities and voluntary organisations can work together to help provide support for people with long-term conditions like hearing loss. Additionally, an Audiology Advisory Group will be established by the Department of Health to provide a platform for experts to discuss how outcomes can be improved for patients.
The decision was made after Mr Burstow recognised Action on Hearing Loss' report, Hearing Matters, as an important step in raising the profile of hearing conditions. The report says hearing loss now affects one in six of the population, and calls on people to regularly check their hearing and raise awareness in their own communities of the support and advice available.
"We're delighted to have persuaded the government, through 'Hearing Matters', that the everyday impact of hearing loss - which can lead to social isolation, depression and mental health problems - needs to be addressed," said Sherine Krause, managing director of the charity. "We look forward to engaging with the Audiology Advisory Group to ensure that the Long Term Conditions strategy produces the best outcomes and support responsive to the individual needs of people with hearing loss."