Saturday, 18 February 2017

Welsh Councils cut funding for deaf alert systems.

Chris Williams has been severely deaf from childhood
Spending on specialist equipment for people who have hearing loss has been cut "dramatically" over the past four years, figures have shown.

Figures obtained by Action on Hearing Loss Cymru showed Welsh councils have cut their spending by 15% on average - or £40,000.  The charity said the cuts were "worrying" and called on local authorities to reconsider. The Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) blamed council budget cuts.

The money is spent on equipment including specially-adapted telephones, front door bells that flash when used and listening devices for people with hearing loss. The charity told BBC's Newyddion 9 programme that this equipment allows people to live more independently and reduces isolation and loneliness. More than 575,000 deaf people live in Wales but just £210,000 is spent annually on specialist equipment each year.

One of those who is worried about the situation is Chris Williams, from Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd, who has been severely deaf from childhood. "Without hearing aids I can't hear a thing. This equipment is essential," he said. "I have a special doorbell that lights up, and it works with a phone too. I have a fire alarm that works through bluetooth - which vibrates under my pillow. And with a fire alarm it is a matter of life and death.