Date published: 
14 October 2020
Media type: 
Media release
Audience: 
General public

The Australian Government will implement key initiatives from the Roadmap for Hearing Health, investing $21.2 million over five years.

Addressing a meeting of the Hearing Health Sector Alliance today, Minister for Regional Health, Mark Coulton, said the Government’s investment reflects its ongoing commitment to improving access to hearing support services for vulnerable Australians.

“With more than 3.6 million Australians currently affected by hearing loss and that number expected to reach 7.8 million by 2060, it is vital we have the services and support that allow them to best live to their potential,” Minister Coulton said.

“That’s why the Government is investing in and reforming its hearing services to improve access and quality of services for all Australians.

“With numerous efforts already underway, including development of paediatric standards and increasing screening in remote areas, we today announce the implementation of key initiatives from the Roadmap for Hearing Health.”

Minister Coulton said the announced Roadmap initiatives focused on making Australians well aware of the importance of hearing health and ensuring services reach those who need them, especially the vulnerable.

“Targeted activities to improve outcomes for Indigenous children and efforts to upskill the aged care workforce will see better outcomes for some of the most in need,” he said.

“Regional Australians will be pleased to hear about specific measures to ensure their access to services continues and improves with funding for a rural workforce audit and summit and implementation of new tele-audiology standards to allow this tool to bridge the gap between rural Australians and necessary hearing tests.

“We expect the $5 million awareness campaign to help break down the stigmas that surround hearing loss and to encourage more Australians to get their hearing checked.

“We know how important early identification is in minimising further damage and increased awareness will certainly help.”

Minister Coulton said the initiatives announced in the Budget followed work by members of the Hearing Health Sector Alliance to develop the Roadmap.

“Members of the Hearing Health Sector Alliance played a central in role in developing the Roadmap and it is particularly pleasing to be able to discuss its implementation with them today,” Minister Coulton said.

“The Commonwealth will continue to work with states and territories to deliver further elements of the Roadmap.”

Hearing Health Sector Alliance Chair, Dr Tony Coles, welcomed the announcement, saying it was important the Government was funding the five key priority areas by the Hearing Health Sector Alliance and included in the Roadmap for Hearing Health.

“We’re delighted this funding will assist more Australians protect their hearing health, fund research into hearing loss, and support those who need greater access to audiological services.

“With one in six Australians experiencing hearing loss, and links between hearing loss, falls, depression and anxiety, cognitive impairment and dementia, it is important for Australians to protect their hearing and to gain a greater understanding to prevent, treat and manage hearing loss,” Dr Coles said.

“The Hearing Health Sector Alliance is looking forward to working collaboratively with the Federal Government to implement these important initiatives as part of the Roadmap for Hearing Health, which will improve hearing outcomes for all Australians.”

Roadmap initiatives announced in the Federal Budget are:

  • $5 million hearing health awareness campaign
  • $7.3 million for research to develop a sound evidence base for effective treatment, service delivery, and prevention of hearing loss
  • $5 million for improvements in and early identification of hearing and speech difficulties for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
  • $2 million for initiatives in the aged care sector to improve the capability of the aged care workforce to support people with hearing loss.
  • $400,000 for development and adoption of new tele audiology standards for hearing services.
  • $200,000 to support rural service delivery through a workforce audit and a rural hearing workforce summit.
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