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CAMHS won't see you now

Patients are slow to report hearing loss

A third of patients with hearing loss take more than two years to approach their GP about the problem, putting them at risk of long-term hearing damage, according to a survey.

The 846-patient survey, conducted by the charity Defeating Deafness, also revealed that 14 per cent of patients thought the onset of hearing loss was not important enough to bother their GP.

Some 42 per cent of patients surveyed said they would like better quality hearing aids, better access to information and hearing tests and quicker referral to specialist centres.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence estimated there were 8.7 million people in the UK with some degree of hearing impairment and some 10 per cent of the adult population would benefit from a hearing aid.

But Vivienne Michael, chief executive of Defeating Deafness, said patients were either unwilling to use them or did not access them because their hearing loss remained undetected. She added: 'The fact that many people are reluctant to consult their GPs and suffer in silence for longer than necessary indicates that hearing loss is still regarded as a taboo subject.'

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