For the more than 3.6 million Australians who experience some form of hearing loss or suffer from a balance disorder, recent recommendations from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Standing Committee will be welcomed. Given that hearing loss is the second most common health condition suffered by Australians, and that Australia has been a world leader in supporting those who suffer from hearing loss problems, it should come as no surprise that it has backed the calls from world health leaders to make the prevention of hearing loss a priority.
Whilst it’s generally considered that Australia is a leader when it comes to supporting the hearing impaired, many of the recommendations that were made in the 2010 report entitled ‘Hear Us: Inquiry into Hearing Health in Australia’ have still not been implemented. This has been a source of frustration for hearing organisations as well as those who suffer from hearing loss.
In an October 2017 report on Health Aged Care and Sport (‘Inquiry into Hearing Health and Wellbeing in Australia’), the Commonwealth Parliamentary Standing Committee made a number of recommendations that were suggested by Audiology Australia.
The committee has recommended the following:
- That hearing health should be made a National Health Priority Area
- That the Office of Hearing Services should review the provision of hearing services to those who reside in aged care facilities
- That hearing health and audiology services delivered through the internet should be added to the Medicare Benefits Schedule
Furthermore, the Committee recognises the importance of education in regards to avoidable hearing loss. This includes a national campaign to ensure Australians are aware of how vulnerable their hearing is and how noise damage can have serious long term effects.
This report has been welcomed by Audiology Australia and its members, including Victorian Hearing.
To hear the Federal MP Trent Zimmerman speak about the ‘Inquiry into Hearing Health and Wellbeing in Australia’ in Parliament, click here.