Like everyone else I am appalled at the possibility that North Staffs NHS may stop providing hearing aids to people with mild hearing loss. I think it is short sighted and based on incorrect reasoning. Just supposing they invited me to go up and talk to them about it, what would I say to them? The very first thing I would ask is, why did they pick people with the milder forms of hearing loss? Was it because there are so many of them? Somewhere around 9 million people have mild hearing loss and about 6 million would benefit from a hearing aid. Compared with that figure the total number of people with severe hearing loss is very small in comparison. Clearly N Staffs don’t want to shut down hearing aid provision completely but they have got this idea that they will save a lot of money by not providing help to the least afflicted. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
First and foremost they have assumed that being mildly deaf or hard of hearing is in some way “easier” than being profoundly deaf. They have the idea that if they stop supplying hearing aids to these people it won’t really matter because after all they are only slightly deaf. N. Staffs I have information for you. It doesn’t matter what degree of deafness a person has. If they can’t understand then they can’t understand.
There are no degrees of misunderstanding. You either is or you isn’t. In or out. Yes or no. Or sometimes No when it should have been Yes or vice versa. Because they misunderstood. The degree of deafness is immaterial to the result of this interaction. The deaf person makes a mistake, things don’t go to plan because there is a basic misunderstanding. That’s the same for all of us regardless. So where on earth did they get this muddled idea that withholding assistance with hearing loss, of whatever degree was going to save them money? Who told them that?
Furthermore there is known and respected research that tells us that people with hearing loss have tougher lives, more likelihood of depression because they can’t cope, more prone to isolation and loneliness and the other evils that go with that. This is known science. It’s not new! So, by carrying out this false economy N Staffs will be creating a legion of depressed lonely people who will need increasing amounts of expensive attention from the care services. Any skilled care practitioner will know that recommending hearing aids is the remedy for this. But N Staffs don’t want to do that. They think they will save money. If N Staffs don’t think that is barmy logic then I certainly do. And I’ve been deaf a lot longer than them!
– Andrew Arthur.