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Praise for GPs referring patients with hearing loss

Posted Apr 20 2011 2:00pm

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One of Suffolk's leading hearing care specialists has today praised family doctors for their help in the first stage in treating people with hearing loss.

A new study shows that more than 60% of patients who go to their GP complaining that they can’t hear as well as they used to, are referred on for treatment.

The figures are revealed in a new groundbreaking study of nearly 15,000 UK consumers who answered questions about their hearing and their knowledge of hearing aids in, the survey, ‘Anovum – EuroTrak UK 2010’. It’s claimed to be the most comprehensive and largest ever undertaken in this field.

And Karen Finch, Managing Director of the Hearing Care Centre, in Ipswich, says she’s delighted that so many people are getting help. However she remains concerned about the 39% of people who went to their family doctor about their hearing loss and then did not go any further to seek a solution to the problem.

“One person in seven suffers from hearing loss caused by advancing age or exposure over the years to excessive noise, ” says Karen, “but many do nothing about it, choosing instead to suffer in silence.

“For some years there has been anecdotal evidence that some GP’s don’t understand hearing loss and often dismiss patients who complain that they can’t hear properly.

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“This survey demonstrates that for whatever reason well over a third of people who seek help from the family practitioner don’t actually get it. They are not being referred for hearing tests when they should be.

“39% is a disappointing figure because it means thousands of people in Suffolk alone are battling with isolation, withdrawal from their community, problems at work, depression, low self-esteem and a host of other negative consequences, all of which have been reported in recent studies of the negative effects of hearing loss,”

Karen Finch has been campaigning for some years on the insidious effects of untreated hearing loss and the danger excess noise can cause to hearing. She’s also been working with many Suffolk GP’s to ensure that patients have ready access to hearing assessments and correction of hearing loss if that is appropriate.

Though 3.5m people in UK should be wearing hearing aids and are not there is a lower hearing test rate here than in the rest of Europe (31% UK, 47% France, 55% Germany).

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