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24 November 2023

NCHA member update - 24 November


This month:

Healthy ageing report promotes access to hearing care

The vital importance of good hearing technology featured prominently in the chief medical officer Chris Whitty's annual report into health in an ageing society. The report cited evidence that hearing aids help people stay socially active, reduce the risk of depression and may reduce the risk of dementia.

'Loss of hearing, which is often under-appreciated, can have a substantial effect on quality of life, including social interaction. It is common in older age. Several causes of hearing loss can be slowed, and the effects reversed by current technology,' the report states.

Hearing impairment as listed as one of the two top components of the ageing process that should be made a research priority for older adults. The report described the area as 'significantly under-researched'.

Hearing aid sales bounce back in third quarter

Hearing aid sales are back up after a slump in sales in the second quarter, the British Irish Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (BIHIMA) reports.

As we reported last week, third-quarter data for this year showed an increase in sales to the NHS, up 29% since the second quarter and 20% higher than the 2022 figure. Total UK sales were 6.5% higher than in the same period last year, with sales to the Republic of Ireland up 7.5%.

Families urge action over audiology failings

Scottish families of children affected by audiology failings in NHS Lothian accused the Scottish Government of 'delays and obfuscation' in responding to an independent review of services, The Sunday Post reported.  

Mike Henderson, the founder of Families Failed by Lothian Audiology Action Group, told the Post the Government had sat on the final report for months before 'quietly uploading it onto the website without telling us'.

The Independent Review of Audiology in Scotland, commissioned by the Scottish Government in January 2022, found staff shortages, a lack of leadership and poor quality control contributed to more than 100 missed and delayed diagnoses.

The British Society of Audiology (BSA) and the British Academy of Audiology (BAA), who contributed to the review, have written to the Scottish Government expressing their disappointment about the lack of progress in implementing the recommendations. Read more here

Audiology conference season

The British Academy of Audiology (BAA) and the UK Hearing Conservation Association (HCA) held successful conferences this month. The BAA conference in the Coventry Building Society Arena featured a wide-ranging programme with a focus on quality improvement and assurance following concerns raised about standards in paediatric audiology.

Alliance launches new website

The Hearing Loss and Deafness Alliance, a collaboration of independent, voluntary and public sector organisations, launched a new website as part of its effort to support people with hearing loss, deafness and tinnitus.

You can find lots of useful information about to help meet the hearing needs of your local population on the resources page.

Other sector news

  • Doctor and television presenter Michael Mosley talks to The Guardian about how hearing aids can boost your health and wellbeing.
  • Researchers from three universities team up find out what matters most to deaf children and their families in their quest for a list of top ten research questions. Read more here
  • Scientists predict eye movement from sound recordings in the ear canal, according to a study by neuroscientists in North Carolina.
  • The London mayor, Sadiq Khan, signs British Deaf Association's charter for BSL.

Health policy

Cabinet reshuffle

Victoria Atkins became the secretary of state for health and social care in the latest cabinet reshuffle. A barrister by training, she was previously financial secretary to the treasury. Andrew Stephenson becomes the minister and Dame Andrea Leadsom is parliamentary under secretary of state.

Waiting lists

September waiting list data revealed that about a million people in England are on more than one NHS list for treatment.

There were 7.77 million waits for non-emergency care at the end of the month, up from 7.75 million in August, but a breakdown of the figures by NHS England revealed that more than a million required multiple procedures.
















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