A news item in the UK’s Daily Mail (June 7, 2014) reports that health chiefs in North Staffordshire have proposed new regulations that would deny free hearing aids to thousands of people currently covered by the country’s National Health Service (NHS). Under the proposed regulations, those people diagnosed as “hard-of-hearing” would be denied hearing aids until their hearing loss qualifies for the “severe loss” category. This move would reportedly save £1.2 million (US$1.5 million) for the local authority.
The news item says no local NHS group has cut access to hearing aids in such a way before. It also quotes Paul Breckel of Action on Hearing Loss as saying, “We are shocked to learn of this plan to stop free hearing aids for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. These are exactly the people who need them most.”