HC Deb 22 June 1971 vol 819 cc1172-3
5. Mr. Greville Janner

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will now arrange for ear-level OL 67 invisible hearing aids to be made available under the National Health Service for adult patients; and if he will make a statement.

The Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Security (Mr. Michael Alison)

No, Sir. The performance of this aid falls short of that likely to be needed from an ear-level aid for adults.

Mr. Janner

Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that the time has come to abolish these nasty, red, old-fashioned ugly knobs from the ears of National Health Service patients? If the other invisible aids are all right for children up to the age of 14, why are they not all right for adults'? Why, for the sake of coppers, do older people have this indignity imposed upon them in addition to the suffering which their deafness inevitably causes them?

Mr. Alison

I appreciate the hon. and learned Gentleman's sympathy with the deaf. We all wish to avoid any difficulty. We are studying the possibility of introducing an invisible ear-level aid.

Mr. Pavitt

While not agreeing with some of the comments of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Leicester, North-West (Mr. Greville Janner), may I ask the hon. Gentleman whether there is a possibility of producing these post-aural aids in a development area to help cope with the unemployment situation?

Mr. Alison

The technical and medical implications of the aid are being worked out and we hope to have proposals shortly. It is difficult to forecast the precise implications for employment at this stage.