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Improvement measures on provision of hearing aids for hearing impaired students

     The Education Bureau (EDB) will provide two hearing aids to  hearing impaired (HI) children to enhance their binaural listening starting from September this year.

     A spokesman for the Education Bureau today (August 30) said: "The Education Bureau (EDB) encourages children with hearing impairment to make the most of their residual hearing to develop as much language as possible so that they can master adequate communication skills for use in everyday life and learning.

     He said: "We expect about 1,500 HI children will benefit from the provision in the coming school year (2010/11)."

     The improvement measure also includes the shortening of the hearing aid replacement period from five years to three years. The improved provision will be implemented in phases.  Full implementation is expected by the end of the 2010/11 school year.

     "In addition to providing hearing aids free of charge, the EDB has also been providing maintenance and repairs for the hearing aids, regular audiological assessments, as well as guidance and counselling to HI children and their parents so as to equip them with the necessary strategies and skills," the spokesman said.

     The spokesman said that the EDB reviewed from time to time how the provision of audiological services and hearing aids facilitates HI children's learning from the educational perspective. The latest research findings showed that binaural fitting enables better sound localisation and speech perception, prevents auditory deprivation and gives HI children better access to academic experiences.

     This would help to enhance HI children's language development, which enables them to improve their communication skills and perform better in academic and psychosocial aspects, he added.  

     At the same time, the EDB actively responded to views expressed by students, parents and the public for the provision of binaural fitting and shortening of the hearing aid replacement period. Additional resources have been allocated for implementing the improved provision.  

     "As the hearing aid replacement date differs from case to case for HI children who have already been issued with one hearing aid, priority will be given to all new cases and the current cases whose hearing aids are due for replacement.  We will then provide the second hearing aid to other current cases in phases," the spokesman added.

Ends/Monday, August 30, 2010
Issued at HKT 17:18


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