The Story: Hearing health care
“If people have a hearing loss, then they should get help with treatment” – this was the message when the Danish government in 1950 introduced the law on ‘Measures concerning deaf and hearing impaired people’. The Act became the starting point to the establishment of the Danish hearing health care and has led to the fact that Denmark is a pioneer within this field.
Technical Audiological Laboratory – TAL (now part of DELTA) was commissioned to provide technical assistance to build the Danish hearing health care and was therefore from the beginning involved in helping hearing impaired. Since 1964, DELTA has handled the technical support function for hearing health care and has for more than 50 years worked as a technical consultant for the Regions and the Ministry of Health.
Initially, hearing health care was located at public hospitals around the country and it was solely a public service until the Ministry of Health in year 2000 opened for grants through private hearing aid dispensers.
Today, Denmark has over 300 private hearing aid dispensers, which by request of the Ministry of Health are approved and certified by DELTA, so that the dispensers can provide subsidised hearing aids and related services for hearing impaired. Thus, the certification scheme provides security for the users and ensures proper use of the society’s money.
Danish hearing aids are in the lead
During the establishment of hearing centres in the late 1950s it was a challenge to obtain hearing aids. Denmark – unlike other countries – chose to set up technical requirements which hearing aids should meet. At the beginning only a minority of hearing aids met these requirements, but the industry quickly rose to the occasion and improved their devices.
Today, Denmark can pride itself on being a global leader: Denmark has almost 50 % of the world market for hearing aids, and 3 of the largest hearing aid manufacturers (GN Resound, Oticon, and Widex) are Danish.
DELTA continues to play an important role in the industry and society’s efforts to help hearing impaired people in its capacity as a specialised measurement laboratory, certification unit for hearing dispensers, and centre of excellence for technical audiology. Moreover, DELTA shares research knowledge with the industry, participates actively in the education of audiologists, and has a central role in international standardisation.
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