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24 JunCall for nationwide public health campaign

We have today sent a briefing to MPs calling for the Government to work towards a nationwide public health campaign on deafness and hearing loss.

We have prepared the briefing for the Parliamentary debate next week on the NHS Action Plan on Hearing Loss [PDF] and the adult hearing service commissioning framework

The debate was called by Jim Fitzpatrick MP, the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness. It is at 3pm on Thursday 30 June in Westminster Hall.

Jim Edwards, chair of the UK Council on Deafness, said: “After much discussion with our members, we are agreed a nationwide public health campaign is in all our interests.

“The idea was first suggested by the common purpose awareness mission group. It was then endorsed by the common purpose steering group, our Board, the Hearing Loss and Deafness Alliance, and our members who regularly attend APPG meetings.

“The common thread in all the things we are working on is the need for greater awareness. The public needs a better understanding of the impact of deafness and hearing loss. People who are deaf or have a hearing loss need better awareness of the services and other support available to them, and their rights. Hearing people need better awareness of how to protect their hearing and what to do if they start to experience a hearing loss. And government needs a better understanding of the impact of its policies on people who are deaf or have a hearing loss.

“A campaign will encourage people to take control of their life by having their hearing tested by their GP or provider of audiology services. It will urge them not to let deafness and hearing loss become a barrier to them being involved in education, employment, politics, community activity – all elements of society.

“And all our members will be able to use the campaign as a springboard, whether they are focused on increasing the number of lipspeaking classes, equal access for sign language users, or helping more deaf young people benefit from cochlear implants.

“We know there are challenges ahead. Public health budgets have been devolved and there are many competing health priorities. But the number of people who are deaf or have a hearing loss is in the millions and constantly rising. The NHS England Action Plan on Hearing Loss recognises the enormous personal, social and economic impact of untreated hearing loss. And The Ear Foundation estimates that economic cost to be £30bn a year.

“So if we stay committed to our common purpose and work together, it’s definitely something we can achieve.”

Download the briefing [RTF]