Australia needs better support for people with hearing loss

The Shepherd Centre, welcomed the report from the recent Senate enquiry into Hearing Health and Wellbeing in Australia. The report has a very appropriate name ‘Still waiting to be heard…’. I would urge you to read this report as it once again highlights the need for hearing health to be treated as a national health priority – particularly as it is estimated to cost the Australian economy an estimated $33.3 billion in 2017 alone.

The report emphasises that greater recognition, prioritisation and action is needed by the Australian government to improve hearing health and wellbeing across the country.

We absolutely welcome these findings which highlight what we already know – that there is clearly more to be done to better support the 3.6 million Australians dealing with hearing loss and treat hearing loss as a national health priority.

You may not know, but in 2010, the Senate Community Affairs References Committee tabled a significant report, ‘Hear Us: Inquiry into Hearing Health in Australia’. While some of its recommendations have been implemented, many have not. Seven years on, this parliamentary inquiry of the House Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport heard similar evidence and drew similar conclusions. There was a sentiment of frustration among those with hearing loss or in the medical and support community that bipartisan recommendations had not been implemented – hence the report was appropriately named ‘Still waiting to be heard..’.

At The Shepherd Centre we always wanted to make Australia the best place for people with hearing loss. We don’t want to sit on the sidelines and wait until our Government decides to implement recommendations – if we don’t do more now, the report may simply go unnoticed and the momentum for change lost.

Along with many other hearing loss providers, we have joined the industry wide ‘Break the Sound Barrier’ campaign that is aimed at lobbying politicians to treat hearing health as a national health priority. But we cannot do this without your help.

Over the next few months will be asking you to support this public campaign by sending letters and emails that we provide for you to your members of parliament, demanding to make hearing health a national health priority, and asking you to sign the petition that we will prepare. We hope that with support from you and many others, the Government would take notice and people with hearing loss will have a voice amongst our decision makers.