$4.6m hearing-loss screening programme kicks off; 8,000 residents to be checked

The Mobile Hearing Clinic at Yuhua Community Club.
The Mobile Hearing Clinic at Yuhua Community Club.PHOTO: NATIONAL UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL

SINGAPORE-The National University Hospital (NUH) will be partnering the People's Association (PA) to screen 8,000 residents above the age of 40 for hearing loss over the next two years.

This $4.6 million programme, which started last December, was launched by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and Yuhua MP Grace Fu on Saturday .

About 500 residents in Bukit Panjang, Tampines West, Yuhua and Nee Soon Central have gone for subsidised hearing diagnostic tests conducted in Mobile Hearing Clinics (MHCs) in the heartlands since Dec 14 last year.

There are currently two of such clinics. Each clinic is equipped with hearing test equipment and hearing aid fitting systems.

Ms Fu highlighted the fact that about 80 per cent of the close to 200 of Yuhua's residents who have gone for the screening have been diagnosed with some degree of hearing loss, which is "quite a big number".

She added that hearing loss could hasten the ageing process:"Sometimes hearing loss would result in isolation, loss of interaction with friends, and as a result, (a) diminishing social circle...it could lead to early onset of dementia and other psychological and physiological processes as well."

The screenings cost $5, with an additional $15 for those who need further evaluation. Hearing aids cost between $1,800 to $3,200 and eligible residents can get at least 90 per cent off the price through financial assistance.

yuensin@sph.com.sg