Page last updated at 17:29 GMT, Wednesday, 23 May 2012 18:29 UK

Deaf Awareness Week debate

Labour MSP Jenny Marra led the Deaf Awareness Week member's debate on 23 May 2012.

Ms Marra praised the work of groups who work with deaf and hard of hearing people in Scotland citing a 38 point attainment difference in S4 pupils between hearing and hard of hearing pupils saying "deaf children are disadvantaged immensely from the start of their lives".

The Labour MSP's motion said 850,000 people in Scotland were affected by hearing loss and that, for around 6,000 people, British Sign Language (BSL) was their first language.

During her debate the North East Scotland MSP noted unaddressed hearing loss affects 500,000 people in Scotland.

Of those only 160,000 people have a hearing aid and there is a 10 year delay in people seeking help for hearing loss.

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson recognised the effect of an ageing population and a squeezed budget: "We have to recognise how we plan and deliver services moving forward."

Mr Matheson said there were opportunities to improve services for those in Scotland who suffer hearing loss or hearing impairment quoting the carers authorisation card which is being piloted in two health boards in Scotland.

The minister also highlighted annual assessments in adult and paediatric audiology services as a step towards "the principle of ensuring someone with hearing loss or deafness is afforded to live as independent a life as possible".

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