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1 year ago
As hearing week culminates with World Hearing Day today, we are reminded that 3.5 million Australians are affected by hearing loss.
Hearing also deteriorates with age and it is estimated that 60% of adults over the age of 60 and 74% over the age of 70 are likely to have a hearing impairment.
Hearing health has been recognised as a serious national issue, resulting in a parliamentary inquiry by the Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport, resulting in a report entitled “Still waiting to be heard”. It is clear that hearing loss impedes the development of too many children, particularly indigenous children and limits the participation in our broader society for so many others. 
 The Government must now respond to the Committee's report.
The reality is that for many people with hearing impairment there are solutions or services that can help them. However, they need to be able to access those services and much more needs to be done.
Hearing services in Australia are amongst the best in the world and we can be proud of the advancements made by Australian icons like Cochlear, or the excellent services of Australian Hearing since 1947, however we can’t afford to go backwards.
The transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme is expected to further broaden access to hearing services, but it should not be used as an excuse to diminish services provided by Australian Hearing or sell off this valuable government service provider.
The PwC review of the Hearing Services Program, which the Turnbull Government commissioned, suggested a harsh restriction in the eligibility criteria to access government support for hearing services. The Government should immediately rule this out.
The 2018 World Hearing Day theme of “Hear the Future” is an opportune time to consider both what the future holds for people with a hearing impairment and how governments and the hearing industry can work together to improve hearing health across the globe.
Health and Aged Care Disability Insurance hearing impairment World Hearing Day