27 Nov 2009

Hearing aid funding cuts 'will hit Maori'

10:50 am on 27 November 2009

Cutbacks to ACC funding of hearing aids would have a particularly harsh effect on Maori, an audiologist says.

A bill before Parliament would remove ACC cover for people whose noise-induced hearing loss is judged to be less than 6%.

The president of the New Zealand Audiological Society, Lesley Hindmarsh says Maori make up a high proportion of workers in noisy industries such as forestry, construction and manufacturing.

Ms Hindmarsh says they are already poorly served by the accident compensation system and many find the process of applying to ACC too difficult.

"They just don't have that help to help them fill in the paperwork to get their claims initiated," she told Waatea News

Lesley Hindmarsh says without hearing aids, sufferers won't be able to distinguish consonants like 's','t', 'f' and 'th' which are critical for understanding, especially in noisy environments.