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12 March 2021

Member update – 12 March

This week:

Apple - new insights on hearing health

The global technology giant Apple Inc has shared the findings of its US-wide Apple Hearing Study.

The study was conducted together with the University of Michigan School of Public Health. It allowed users to opt in to share their long-term hearing health data from their Apple Watch and iPhone.
The data showed that 25% of volunteers experience exposure to environmental noise above the limit recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), with nearly 50% working or having worked in a loud workplace. In contrast, 10% of participants had headphone exposure above the WHO recommended limit.

Apple said: "About 10% of Apple Hearing Study participants have been diagnosed with hearing loss by a professional. Of these, 75% do not use assistive support such as a hearing aid or cochlear implant, even though such devices can help reduce the impacts of hearing loss."

World Hearing Day recap

The NCHA reaffirmed its commitment to action on hearing loss during World Hearing Day on 3 March by issuing a statement on the World Report on Hearing and through blogs, news and social media activities that kept members informed.  

ENT UK used World Hearing Day to raise awareness of the need for better public education in maintaining ENT health in the pandemic's wake. Writing in Health Awareness, ENT UK's Honorary Secretary, Taran Tatla, said neither the public nor healthcare professionals had appreciated the secondary sensory impact of Covid-19 upon the ear organ. He said ENT professionals needed to be "fully equipped to meet these challenges".  
AEA also hosted a debate on 3 March. Read about the Lunch Debate at the European Parliament in Brussels. 

BIHIMA calls for GP support in hearing care crisis

Paul Surridge, BIHIMA Chairman, has called for better hearing loss education for GPs to help hearing care professionals address "the vast scale of unmet need" in the wake of the pandemic.

The BIHMA has sponsored an educational toolkit developed by the RCGP, the RNID and NHSE&I to support and train GPs to consult more effectively with hearing loss patients.

Paul said it would "significantly help the healthcare community to meet this need and ensure more people have access to life-changing hearing instruments". 

HCPC update

The HCPC has revealed its strategy for better communication and transparency after health and wellbeing research revealed the "devastating impact our processes can have with registrants". Read the complete research.
Accelerating the HCPC's Fitness to Practise Improvement Plan has become a standing item on the Council's agenda. Find out about the work HCPC is doing to progress its FtP process.
The Head of Policy and Standards at the HCPC has said registrants need to take extra care before posting comments on social media. Katherine Timms said: "Ensuring you know the evidence that underpins the content you are sharing, or the impact it might have, is vital in stopping the spread of misinformation and its harmful effects." Read Katherine's blog on the pros and cons of using social media as an HCPC registrant. 

If you employ or manage an HCPC registrant, you may be interested in employer events taking place virtually in Autumn 2021. The events explore the Council's regulatory role and standards, support for HCPC health and care professionals, and managing concerns. Find out more

Consultation VAT and value shifting

HMRC is consulting on VAT and value shifting. The consultation closes on 30 March 2021. Please contact us by emailing [email protected] if you have any questions or would like to discuss the consultation. 

Other sector news

Dr Jenna Littlejohn from the UK SENSE-Cog team highlights the importance of considering hearing loss as a positive influence on the care pathway when working with adults with dementia. Read her article in ENT and Audiology News.

Zoom is adding to its accessibility features by making automatic closed captioning (Live Transcription) available to all users in Autumn 2021. Until the feature's general release, Zoom will offer free account holders who require the service automatic closed captioning to meeting hosts upon request. 

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