The number of children and adults waiting for a hearing test has soared to over 13,500, new figures reveal.
There are 6,412 children and 7,181 adults queueing for the test with the largest numbers waiting in the west of the country.
Another 1,142 are waiting for a hearing aid, including 125 children, Health Minister James Reilly admitted.
He pointed out that the Health Service Executive published the highly critical report of its National Audiology Review Group (NARG) in April last year.
This revealed that high numbers of people were facing long delays for the service, which had a shortage of specialist staff.
A number of its recommendations to reduce waiting times are now being progressed, including the appointment of a National Clinical Lead which has recently been approved.
There are also plans to combine community and hospital services to make better resources of the existing audiology staff in both areas.
More hearing specialists whose training is sponsored by the HSE should be ready to join the workforce in September next year.
The minister, who was replying to a parliamentary question from Fine Gael TD Mary Mitchell O’Connnor, also said a national procurement process for hearing aids, hearing aid fitting systems and audiological assessment equipment was due to be completed this month.
If you need more information about hearing tests or would like a FREE hearing test contact Hidden Hearing.