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Better Services For The Deaf In The Pipeline

Better Services For The Deaf In The Pipeline

The National Foundation for the Deaf has been asked to take a leadership role in an unprecedented approach to solving some of the issues within the hearing impaired community.

For the first time a group of representatives from the hearing sector service providers, funders, the ACC and the Ministry of Health attended a Wellington forum this week, funded by the NFD, to discuss the provision of services and technology for the adult hearing impaired.

Marianne Schumacher, executive manager of the NFD said the aim of the group is to gain new information and insights into various issues surrounding our deaf and hearing impaired community.

“All those groups attending are concerned that hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders are hearing impaired and current services are inadequate. There are not enough audiologists, waiting lists are huge and there is no integration of health and social care.

“The perception of the disability is that it is a mechanical problem which can be fixed, or not, by a hearing aid. But hearing impairment is about the lack of communication and the psychological and sociological issues around this isolation need to be considered. The “whole” person should be treated, not just the ear,” said Ms Schumacher.

The forum was attended by visiting Scientist-in-charge at the Scottish Institute of Hearing Research in Glasgow, Prof. Stuart Gatehouse who shared his experience and thinking on developing a collective long term vision and strategy for providing better services for the hearing impaired.

The NFD was commissioned to form an action group to process the initiatives. The first step is to map out the complete system – a who’s who in the sector and what they are doing.

“While this is a daunting task, it is essential to identify all parties and look at the big picture before developing service delivery models and best practices,” said Ms Schumacher.

ENDS Released on behalf of The National Foundation for the Deaf Inc by Donovan Boyd Communications, Auckland.

For further information please contact :

Marianne Schumacher Executive Manager, The NFD Tel: (09) 307 2922 Or Liane Donovan Donovan Boyd Communications Tel: (09) 379 2121 027 222 7348

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