$21.2 million over five years will be invested by the Federal Government in hearing health and ear care in Australia. It is a positive first step in implementing a national strategy to address the high economic and social costs of hearing loss.
In an Australian first, a Hearing Health Roadmap has been created which identifies eight key priority areas in hearing health, including: a public awareness campaign, child ear health checks, increased availability of Auslan, improved aged care hearing services, and more support for people on low incomes. The Roadmap highlights the role all Australians can take in caring for their hearing, and ensuring the inclusion of people who are deaf or hard of hearing. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, the Roadmap also highlights the importance of early identification and suitable support being provided by a professional workforce.
• $5 million for a public hearing health awareness and prevention campaign
• $7 million for research into interventions to support vulnerable people
• $5 million for early identification of hearing and speech difficulties in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
• $2 million for improving the workforce in Aged Care settings to support people with hearing loss
• $600 thousand to be shared by developing tele-audiology standards and studies into improving the hearing health workforce, particularly outside metropolitan centres