Health Centre has no audiologist claims Labrador woman

Derek Montague
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Debbie Mesher says elderly mother must fly to St. John’s for hearing aides

Debbie Mesher is extremely frustrated with the healthcare system.

Debbie Mesher (right) claims her elderly mother, Blanch Elson (left), has to fly to St. John’s to get hearing aides fitted by an audiologist.


The Happy Valley-Goose Bay woman claims her 76-year-old mother, Blanch Elson, can’t get hearing aides fitted at the local hospital.

Instead, Elson will have to fly to St. John’s for the procedure.

“She was hard-of-hearing for quite some time,” said Mesher. “The Friendship Centre was giving her these devices for her hearing, but it didn’t help.

“So I made an appointment for her to see the audiologist. She got her hearing tests done, and they wrote back and said that she needed two hearing aids.”

According to Mesher, her mother’s hearing aides have recently arrived at the Labrador Health Centre in Happy Valley-Goose.

But Mesher was told there is currently no audiologist in town, and it was suggested Elson travel to the island to get them fitted.

“Her hearing aides are up here at the hospital,” said Mesher. “I called up (on June 16) and they told me that she can’t have them yet because she’s got to see an audiologist. And I found out there’s no audiologist here in Goose Bay.”

“Her options now is to go to … St. John’s and get them fitted, and she has to pay for (the travel) herself.”

Mesher claims her elderly mother can't really afford a costly ticket to St. John’s, plus any other expenses she might occur there. And if Elson does fly out, Mesher will have to go with her, because of her mother’s hearing problems.

“She’s on a fixed income, her rent takes up more than half of her cheque. Then she got food and bills and everything to pay for.”

“The only way I can figure out is if I get a fundraiser on the go for her.”

The longer Elson waits for her hearing aides, the harder it will become for her. Not being able to hear conversations have affected her socially and emotionally.

“I don’t like going places when I can’t hear people,” said Elson.

“She used to go to the senior dancers,” added Mesher. “She used to go out everywhere. But where she can’t hear so well now, she doesn’t do anything like that.”

The Labradorian contacted a representative from Labrador Grenfell Health for information regarding audiologist availability in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

As of press time, no information had been provided.

Organizations: Labrador Health Centre, Labrador Grenfell Health

Geographic location: Happy Valley, Goose Bay, Labrador

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