Health boards struggling with deaf and hearing loss demand
Health boards across much of Wales are struggling to cope with the demand from people who are deaf or have hearing loss, a report has found.
A review by Action on Hearing Loss Cymru found test waiting times at three of the seven health boards were up.
Meanwhile, patients in two areas did not always get two hearing aids because of restrictions on the number they give out.
The charity said demand would continue to increase given the aging population.
Cwm Taf, Hywel Dda and Powys health boards said patients were waiting longer for hearing tests and reassessments because more people needed help.
Abertawe Bro Morgannwg and Hywel Dda boards both restrict the number of hearing aids they issue, while Aneurin Bevan and Hwyel Dda said they had reduced follow-up appointments because of pressures.
Hwyel Dda also reported reduced staff numbers and reduced aftercare service, at a time when it is planning to reduce its budget for the next year.
Action on Hearing Loss Cymru, formerly RNID, supports 1,300 hearing aid wearers across Wales.
But the free service, which costs £150,000 a year to run, will be cut in 2016 if funding cannot be found.