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A NEW toolkit is available to help GPs treating patients with hearing loss – and encourage deaf patients to access primary care.

The educational kit, developed by Royal College of GPs (RCGP) in collaboration with the UK’s largest hearing loss charity, RNID and NHS England, and Improvement aims to support GPs to consult effectively with deaf patients by offering tips on how to communicate during face to face and remote appointments.

It also offers guidelines on how to recognise early symptoms of hearing loss and how to refer patients for a hearing assessment.

A recent survey by RNID found that more than 70% of respondents ‘did not feel confident that their communication needs would be met during a remote appointment’ and over half admitted they had ‘put off’ seeking advice from their GP because of remote care, meaning they were at risk of missing out on vital medical care.

Ayla Ozmen, Head of Research and Policy at RNID, said: “Under the Accessible Information Standard, all health and social care providers must identify, record and meet people’s specific communication needs.

“We are thrilled to be working with the Royal College of GPs to help highlight the needs of people who are deaf or have hearing loss.

“There are 1 in 5 adults with hearing loss in the UK, and this is expected to increase to 15.6 million people by 2035. Unmanaged hearing loss can have a major impact on daily functioning and quality of life. It can affect communication, social interactions and work, increasing the chances of experiencing loneliness, emotional distress and depression.”

More information about the project and the toolkit can be found here.

RNID Infoline offers free confidential and impartial information on a range of subjects related to hearing loss and tinnitus: 0808 808 0123.

www.rnid.org.uk