§ Mr. Swayne
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average cost to the NHS is of providing a patient with(a) a hearing test and (b) a digital hearing aid; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Jacqui Smith
Some hearing tests are undertaken in audiological medicine out-patient clinics. The national average cost for a first attendance at these clinics in the financial year 2000–01 was £123, while the national average cost for a follow up attendance was £98. The1108W fitting of hearing aids (which might include a hearing test along with counselling) in the same period cost £171 per person. The average cost to the national health service of a digital hearing aid in that period was £276. Since then the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency has been able to negotiate with several providers to reduce the average cost of those digital aids to £159. An NHS digital hearing aid negotiating team, chaired by James Strachan, Chief Executive of the Royal National Institute for Deaf People, is leading further negotiations to achieve the best possible digital hearing aid price and contract.