Health Commissioner suggests school for hearing impaired

Charles Messina suggests mandatory screening of all new-borns for hearing difficulties, better-quality hearing aids, and subsidised text message rates for deaf people

Health Commissioner Charles Messina has suggested the setting up of a school that is specifically catered for children with hearing impairments.

Messina came up with this suggestion after conducting an investigation into the difficulties faced by people with hearing problems, initiated by complaints in the local media.

He also suggested the mandatory screening of all-new born children for potential hearing difficulties and the employment of more interpreters in schools and hospitals.

Messina also suggested that the government start offering better-quality hearing aids.

“It was argued that a good percentage of the money spent on the supply of hearing aids was being wasted because patients would later opt for the ones supplied in the private sector at their own cost,” Messina said. “Patients now prefer the digital to the analogue type of hearing aid. Government only supplied the digital type to children under 16 years of age while the adults are supplied with the analogue type and only subject to a means test.”

Other suggestions include subsidised rates for deaf people to send text messages, subtitles on television, a text messaging service for Emergency Line 112, and a public/private partnership scheme to allow audiologists who work in the private sector to work in government clinics too. 

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