TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 3, 2014) - The Ontario Association of Professional Audiology Clinics (OAPAC) and audiologists across Ontario are spearheading efforts to encourage provincial candidates and political parties to invest in hearing health by improving quality and access to hearing testing for seniors.
Tonight, OAPAC and Audiologists will be watching the Leaders Debate, listening for a commitment by the parties to invest in the hearing health of Ontario's aging population.
"It is proven that Audiologists are the most appropriate providers of hearing health care and directing patients to the most appropriate and accessible provider is consistent with the stated health care goals of each of the three parties" explained OAPAC Executive Audiologists Lila O'Neill, Greg Houle and Lorraine Kennedy Vosu.
Today, 90-95% of adult patients who report hearing loss do not require medical treatment or intervention. Instead, the most effective solution for these patients are hearing aids, which are most effectively and safely provided by an experienced audiologist.
While audiologists are regulated health care providers and hearing testing is within their scope of practice, the government of Ontario does not provide funding. To access government funded hearing testing, many seniors are referred to Ear Nose and Throat specialists - waiting months for a test that they could have received immediately from their local audiologist. Other seniors will go to a retail outlet to receive a "free" test. These tests are often screening tests, not the full diagnostic test that a patient would receive in a clinical setting. It is questionable whether these tests are free, as often they are bundled into the cost of a hearing aid.
Throughout the election, OAPAC has urged member audiologists to take action and contact their local candidates and attend local debates to ask candidates, if elected:
- What would you do to ensure all seniors can access government funded hearing testing provided by a regulated audiologist in a clinical setting?
- What will you do to ensure that our local seniors have quick access to the services of audiologists practicing in the community?
"It's accepted that seniors need access to hearing testing. As we enter the final stage of the election, Ontarians should be asking their candidates for MPP what they plan to do to improve access to hearing testing in a clinical setting" stated the OAPAC Executive.
About the Ontario Association of Professional Audiology Clinics
The Ontario Association of Professional Audiology Clinics is committed to representing audiologists practicing in audiologist owned and operated audiology clinics across Ontario. OAPAC was founded and incorporated in 2001 as a non-profit organization with a mandate to advocate for the practice of audiology in Ontario. Audiologists are regulated health professionals who are the most appropriate providers of hearing health care. By leveraging the expertise and experience of audiologists practicing in the community, in a clinical setting, Ontario could improve the efficiency and effectiveness of hearing health care in Ontario.