More than 1,000 children with hearing problems waiting over a year to see a specialist

More than 1,000 children with hearing problems waiting over a year to see a specialist

More than 1,100 children with hearing problems have been waiting for over a year to see a specialist.

Nearly 1,700 adults have also faced a 12-month wait to see an audiologist.

An audiologist assesses a patient’s hearing loss and puts in place measures to address it.

According to the HSE’s latest figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, there are more than 7,100 children waiting for an appointment.

Nearly half have been waiting at least six months and 1,139 for more than a year.

Of those waiting at least 12 months, 344 are in Longford-Westmeath and 255 are in Wexford.

Dr Laura Durcan, vice-president of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association, says the Covid-19 pandemic is worsening the situation considerably.

“We would have stopped providing an audiology service a number of weeks ago,” she said.

“We may have to slowly change our practices for these as we get back to business usual.

“We may need that the patient to be wearing masks for these procedures, we may need that the practitioner also be wearing masks.

“I think we’re going to have to change how we do a lot out our work going forward.”

There are nearly 10,000 adults waiting to see an audiologist, with 1,667 waiting over a year.

330 are in Wexford and 269 are in south Tipperary.

The HSE says it is working to reduce the waiting lists and ensure timely access to audiology services.

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