§ Dr. David Owen
asked the Minister of Health which firms manufacture hearing aids fitted with an induction coil; why there is a shortage of the specially designed microphones which would enable deaf people in public buildings specially wired with an induction loop system to hear the proceedings; and what steps he is taking to ensure that a supply is available for which many organisations are prepared to pay.
§ Mr. K. Robinson:
Medresco hearing aids fitted with an induction coil are at present provided under the National Health Service to children, in schools that are wired with a loop induction system and to a few other patients with special medical requirements; there is no shortage of the special microphones to meet these needs. The most recent orders for this type of aid were placed with E.M.I. Sounds Products Limited and Welsh Trust (Rhigos) Limited. The new body-worn aid that is expected to come into production for general use in two or three years time will include an induction coil as a standard feature. No other provision of this type of aid under the National Health Service is at present contemplated. I have no power to sell hearing aids. Any questions about the availability of commercial hearing aids with induction coils should be addressed to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Technology.