A DEAF Bournemouth University student says he has been forced to set up a fundraising page after the NHS refused to give him the hearing aids he needs.

Henry Turner-Ward, 22, who lives in Downton near Lymington, was diagnosed as a baby with sensorineural hearing loss, where some of the hairs used by the inner ear to interpret sound don’t work.

The second-year music and sound production tech student says he was shocked to be told that after his 21st birthday eight months ago the NHS would not be providing him with the same treatment he’d received before.

“I’m now 22 and the only choice I have is to receive ‘behind the ear’ low-grade hearing aids which is a debilitating option or to go privately with whatever I can afford,” he said.

Henry researched the hearing aids he would need and discovered he could require ones costing up to £5,000 for the most suitable for his type of hearing loss.

“If I didn’t have them I would hear things as if I had thick flannels over my ear, or a box,” he said. “I can’t make out what people are saying.”

Henry says he was given ordinary hearing aids “to tide me over” by the audiology department he sees in Southampton. “They have given these to me whilst I save up but they’ve more or less said there’s nothing more we can give you. I think it’s because of NHS funding cuts.

“Their explanation is that they said there’s nothing we can really do unless you sort it out yourself and speak to people who can give you good hearing aids which I thought was pretty outrageous,” he said.

“As much as I’d love to be able to provide for myself, I am currently not in a position to do so as I am a full-time student studying a BSc in music and sound production technology, and I work part-time. This experience, of not receiving any help has been frustrating and stressful for me,” he said.

In an effort to gain the money for the hi-spec hearing aids, Henry set up a GoFundMe page. Initially he hoped to raise £100. However, he was astonished to raise £277 in nine days. “I’m overwhelmed by people’s generosity,” he said.

The experience has now made him question his future career. “I had always looked at music and sound but now I think I’d now be interested in studying audiology at Masters level,” he said.

You can support Henry’ Turner-Ward’s appeal on https://www.gofundme.com/help-henry-who-needs-hearing-aids