AN investment of £50,000 is about to start paying dividends for people who are hard of hearing.

The money has been spent on providing an audiology unit at Bedale Health Centre, which will be formally opened today.

Providing a quiet environment for accurate testing, it will be used by people of all ages who have hearing problems.

Specialist Dr Jenny Fisken said: "It will provide a much-needed facility for local people, and enable us to carry out tests with much more accuracy, thanks to the sound-proofed booth."

Adults will be able to take along their digital hearing aids for programming, and work to fit digital aids correctly can be carried out.

A special technique known as sound-filed insulation will also increase the accuracy of tests on children.

Children will benefit, especially those who cannot use or have difficulty with headphones, because of the reduced risk of distraction.

Dr Fisken said: "The booth will also help for training purposes, as it has a one-way mirror with an observation area.

" This means we can provide teaching without distracting the children."