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Hearing Disability Benefits In The UK

June 23, 2015

Hearing loss is very common in the United Kingdom with more than 10 million people having some form of hearing impairment (Actiononhearingloss.org.uk, 2015). Hearing loss can range from mild impairment, where an individual struggles to understand speech in noisy environments, to profound deafness. Of the estimated 10 million people with some form of hearing impairment, 3.7 million are of working age (16-64) and 6.3 million are 65 and over.

There are a number of services and benefits available for individuals who have a hearing impairment. Know your rights when it comes to services that can help you manage hearing loss and improve quality of life.

Hearing Tests

The first step to assessing eligibility for assistance is to have your hearing tested by a general practitioner or audiologist. NHS provide free hearing tests in many locations around the United Kingdom. The tests take 15-20 minutes and are completely painless. If you are housebound, the NHS audiology department can come to your home to perform a hearing check.

There are also free over the phone hearing checks and online hearing checks (Nhs.uk, 2015). These tests are primarily to assess if you need to visit an audiologist for a full hearing test.

Hearing Aids from NHS

Hearing aids are available from NHS free of charge or you can buy one privately. While NHS have a great range of modern hearing aids to choose from, buying privately may give you a wider range of choices. NHS audiology services provide hearing aids to patients as a free long-term loan. There are hearing aid support services available across the United Kingdom. Some of the services offered include:

• Minor repairs to your hearing aid, including battery replacement and cleaning
• Training on how to use and maintain your hearing aid
• Further information on other support services available for people with hearing loss
• Introduction to other technologies that help people with a hearing impairment

All services are provided free of charge.

Equipment for the home

If you have hearing loss, you may eligible for free equipment from your local council. Some of the equipment available usually includes vibrating alarm clocks, visual doorbell alerts, telephone amplifiers and hearing loop systems. If you are interested in seeing what is on offer, talk to your council, NHS audiologist or general practitioner.

Workplace Support

If you find that your hearing impairment affects your ability to work, you may be eligible for the Access to Work grant. This grant is to pay for any special tools or services that you need to continue working in your job. The grant can be used to buy new telephones, modify the work environment, pay for travel costs and more.

Education Support

If you are applying for a higher education course and have a hearing impairment, you may be eligible for a Disabled Students Allowance (DSA). Eligibility for this allowance depends on your study requirements and the extent of your hearing loss.

Cheaper Travel

Some local councils offer travel discounts for a person with a hearing impairment. There is also a Disabled Person’s Railcard available for people who live in England, Scotland or Wales. There is a small fee attached to the railcard, but if offers users a 30% discount on most rail journeys.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

PIP was introduced in 2013 to replace the Disability Living Allowance (DLA). It is designed to help anyone between the ages of 16-64 pay for costs associated with their disability. To gain access to PIP, you will have to be professionally assessed by a medical practitioner. PIP payments can be obtained regardless of employment status, income level and savings.

Attendance Allowance (AA)

People over 65 with a physical disability may be eligible for the AA payment. Similar to PIP, it is used to cover costs associated with a disability. AA payments can also be obtained regardless of employment status, income level and savings.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

If your ability to work is compromised by your hearing impairment, you may be eligible for the ESA. To obtain an ESA payment you mustn’t be receiving a state pension, jobseeker’s allowance, statutory sick pay or maternity pay.

Carer’s Allowance (CA)

If you care for someone who is receiving a AA, PIP, DLA or other disability pension, you may be eligible for a carer’s allowance. To qualify, you must be a carer for the individual for 35 or more hours per week.

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB)

If your hearing impairment was caused by industrial noise or an accident at work, you may be eligible for this payment.

Armed Forces Compensation Scheme

If your hearing loss occurred while in the service of the armed forces you may be eligible for the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (previously known as the War Disablement Pension).

VAT Relief

Disabled people and those with a chronic medical condition can be eligible for VAT relief on certain items they purchase. To qualify for VAT relief, you must have your hearing impairment diagnosed by a medical professional.

We hope this helps.

Written by the team at UK based HearingDirect.com. Hearing Direct offers assistive listening devices, hearing aid batteries and hearing aid accessories.

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