One in six (11 million) people have hearing difficulties. Some 40% of those over 50 have hearing problems, with that figure rising to 70% at the age of 70.

A concern is the number of people who have hearing issues but are not receiving any help or support with the problem.

I have had hearing difficulties for a few years. Originally, I went to the doctor, who sent me onto the audiology department. They found some hearing loss due to an infection a few years previously. I was marginal for hearing aids, so decided I might as well get them.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: A hearing aid. Photo: PIxabayA hearing aid. Photo: PIxabay

The hearing has got worse as the years have gone by, with dependency on the hearing aids growing.

You develop coping mechanisms - avoiding certain situations, etc.

When first diagnosed on hearing I tended to dismiss links to mental health issues and tendencies toward isolation but I can now see how this happens.

There really seems to be very little support and monitoring of hearing problems.

In my own case, it seemed a bit like dish out some hearing aids, problem solved - now you get on with it.

After three years I questioned whether there shouldn't be a check up, both for me and the hearing aids.

This needed another GP referral, so back I went and again was referred.

A new audiology department, based at Whipps Cross, took up the case.

Another examination, with better hearing aids supplied. A suggestion that the ears need syringing but I'd have to sort that out myself.

There was to be a facility at the hospital to obtain hearing aid batteries and get things checked. However, when I recently asked about this, the facility is no longer available.

Back to the GP again I guess for anything beyond hearing aid part and battery replacement services, which are done by post.

This does not seem a very good level of care. Hearing is a key sensory issue. It needs treatment and monitoring.

Failure to provide the requisite care will see people slip off the radar and into greater isolation.

It seems unless you are pushy and pro active, this is exactly what happens. How many people out there just put up with it?

It is unacceptable to let people drift into isolation, with all the social and mental health consequences this can have.

There have been links drawn between deafness and dementia.

It is difficult not to think that hearing loss is treated as a second rate condition that is not given priority. Something that happens with age.

Also, it is difficult not to think that the implication is if an individual requires the standard level of care they should be receiving on the NHS, then they have to go private and pay for the privilege.

Of course I am drawing some conclusions here from my own singular experience, it would be interesting to know how others have got on.

Hearing loss is widespread. Yet it is not something that should consigned to a second-class system of care or impose a limited existence on those growing numbers who endure the condition.

  • Paul Donovan is a Redbridge Labour councillor for Wanstead village and blogger. See