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MP raises issue of hearing loss at Westminster

Dec 2017 Express & Star News

Pat McFaddenPat McFadden, Labour MP for Wolverhampton South East, spoke during a debate in Westminster

He revealed the experiences of his constituent Lamina Lloyd, 43, of Springvale who had to give up work due to hearing loss and cannot secure a cochlear implant operation that could transform her life. Pat said in the debate: "There are many aspects to deafness, but I want to focus on one particular issue and that is the criteria for receiving cochlear implants under the NHS. My argument is simple – these criteria should be reviewed; it should be made easier to get an implant; to do so would transform the lives of those who need this technology; it would improve the lives of their families and loved ones and it would be a prudent investment because it would obviate the need for more expenditure further down the line."

Speaking of the story of Ms Lloyd, Pat said: "Until last year Lamina had a flourishing career as the manager of a local Citizens Advice Bureau. However, Lamina has Meniere’s disease which has resulted in progressive hearing loss, so much so that last year she had to give up work. She has two children who themselves have additional needs. She can no longer hear her children, who have to act as her ears. She describes her family life as having gone from being an outdoor family to one that rarely leaves the house. Lamina is an intelligent, capable outgoing person but for her, hearing loss has meant the end of her career, a deterioration in the quality of her family life and increasing isolation. To try to alleviate her condition Lamina wears the most powerful hearing aids available turned up to maximum volume, but they make little difference and give her frequent ear infections and headaches caused by feedback and squealing."

Pat hopes that by raising awareness of Ms Lloyd's story, it will highlight the importance of early assessment and the positive impact of implants. Pat added: "Even if Lamina is approved for an implant, the question has to be asked why has it taken so long and why do we put people and their families through such pain before giving them the help that could make a life changing difference?

If my constituent had been helped earlier, she might still be in a job, would not need to rely on the state for financial support and her family would not have had to share the difficulties they have all been through together. It is time for a step change in the urgency with which this issue is treated. The guidelines must be revised and it must happen quickly. NICE needs to move faster on this so that the suffering of my constituent Lamina Lloyd and the many people around the country who are in a similar position is alleviated."

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