Hearing Awareness Week

It’s Hearing Awareness Week – with this year’s theme, hearing is precious and fragile, reminding us how important our hearing is, and that once damaged, it cannot be repaired.

Page last updated: 22 August 2016

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22 August 2016

It’s Hearing Awareness Week – with this year’s theme, hearing is precious and fragile, reminding us how important our hearing is, and that once damaged, it cannot be repaired.

One in six Australians currently experiences some sort of hearing loss, and this figure is expected to grow to one in four by 2050.

Supporting Hearing Awareness Week, the Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt, highlighted the importance of hearing awareness for teenagers and young adults.

“Teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices, including smartphones,” Minister Wyatt said.

“Exposure to damaging levels of sound at noisy entertainment venues such as nightclubs, bars and sporting events, is an increasing problem.”

World Health Organization data shows that nearly half of teenagers and young adults aged 12-35 from middle/high income countries, are exposed to unsafe levels of sound from the use of personal audio devices. Four out of ten are exposed to potentially damaging levels of sound at entertainment venues.

Unsafe levels of sounds include exposure in excess of 85 decibels (dB) for eight hours which is equivalent to a diesel truck traveling 40 mph at a distance of 50 ft or 100 dB for 15 minutes which is equivalent to the noise produced from a powered lawn mower.

In 2015-16, around 700,000 Australians received more than 1.3 million services under the voucher component of the program at a cost of $413 million.

Specialised services are provided for children and adults with complex hearing needs, and some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Hearing loss is a particular problem in Indigenous communities and can adversely affect employment opportunities.

With funding provided by the Australian Government, Australian Hearing makes regular visits to over 220 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in all parts of the country. In those communities it offers: Hearing tests—fitting of hearing aids and support for adults, babies and children; support to schools where many children have hearing problems; hearing health meetings with community members and hearing health training for healthcare workers.

Australian Hearing also brings hearing services to the doorstep of local communities by offering free hearing checks for all adults on board its Australian Hearing buses. The Australian Hearing mobile hearing service has provided over 28,000 free hearing checks in communities across Australia since it was established.

“We know that having a job is a fundamental determinant in people’s health and wellbeing, so it is vital that we do all we can to protect people’s hearing,” Minister Wyatt said.

The Australian Government is also investing in research through the Hearing Loss Prevention Program and the National Acoustic Laboratories to help identify the causes of preventable hearing loss.

For a free online test to check your hearing, you can complete a noise risk calculation or a hearing test at the Know Your Noise website.

ENDS

For media enquiries:
Jamila Savoy-Soubotian, Minister Wyatt’s office on 0447 680 444

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