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20 November 2020

Member news – 20 November

In this update

1. Covid-19 updates
2. BIHIMA predicts increased uptake of hearing tech
3. Not accessible, not acceptable!
4. RCGP produces new toolkit for GPs
5. FDA challenged on regulation of OTC hearing aids
6. Tinnitus update

1. Covid-19 updates

Northern Ireland and Scotland - practices remain open

As Northern Ireland and Scotland prepare for a new round of Covid-19 restrictions, community audiology services will remain open and continue to meet patient needs.

In Northern Ireland, 'close contact services' will be asked to close again on 27 November, but audiology as a healthcare service will be exempt from these restrictions. 

In Scotland, healthcare providers complying with official infection prevention and control measures will also be able to meet local needs in accordance with sector guidance.  

Access the support you need on our Covid-19 resource hub.

England - free flu jabs for over 50s and new NHS Covid support

Free flu jabs have been extended to people aged 50 to 64, which means if you are aged 50 and over you will get the free flu vaccine from 1 December as part of an expanded flu vaccination programme this winter. Read more

Covid-19 - ventilation advice 

The government has launched a new campaign to highlight how adequate ventilation can help reduce the spread of Covid-19. In a new short video, the campaign highlights how fresh air can help reduce the risk of infection from particles by over 70%. Watch the video

PSA launches UK consultation - learning from Covid 

The PSA is conducting a review to look at how UK health regulators, including the HCPC, responded to the pandemic. The consultation will close on 21 December. Find out more.   

2. BIHIMA predicts increased uptake of hearing tech

The British Irish Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (BIHIMA) is predicting that the pandemic will pave the way for integrated hearing technologies. In a blog, BHIMA said that most people aged 70 and over suffer from hearing loss, and as they have self-isolated this year, technology has been "a lifeline for many". They predict that the increased uptake of these technologies will also increase the demand for integrated hearing tech. Read more.  

3. Not accessible, not acceptable!

The RNID, RNIB and Sense have challenged Downing Street to improve accessibility to the public health information on Covid-19, setting out how there is an urgent need to act in their 'Not accessible, not acceptable!' campaign. Read more.  

4. RCGP produces new toolkit for GPs

The RNID and Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) have launched a new toolkit to support GPs to deliver more accessible care for people who are deaf and have a hearing loss.

The educational kit, developed by Royal College of GPs (RCGP), is supported by the RNID and NHS England and NHS Improvement. It also offers guidelines on how GPs can recognise early symptoms of hearing loss and how to refer people for a hearing assessment. 

Learn more by vising  

5. FDA challenged on regulation of OTC hearing aids

The US Congress passed an Act in 2017, giving the FDA three years to establish regulations that would provide greater clarity on the use of OTC devices. The FDA missed the deadline in August 2020. Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers and otologists have challenged the FDA's delay in issuing new rules governing OTC hearing aids. They also call for clarity on OTC devices and improving consumer protection by better labelling and controls of personal sound-amplification products (PSAPs).  

6.Tinnitus update

The British Tinnitus Association (BTA) has reported that a new study finds that Covid-19 negatively affects the tinnitus community.

The collaborative research found that 46% of people living with tinnitus in the UK reported worsening symptoms because of lockdown and lifestyle changes. The researchers found that 4 out of 10 people who had had Covid-19 symptoms said that their tinnitus was more bothersome - higher than a previous University of Manchester study. 

Since the pandemic started, UK sufferers were also more likely to report worsening tinnitus than those in other countries. 

The BTA is also reminding people to save the date for Tinnitus Week 2021, which will take place from 1 to 7 February. Find out how to get involved.   

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