About the initiatives
An independent Hearing Health Sector Committee developed the Roadmap for Hearing Health in 2019. The roadmap outlines recommended actions to improve hearing health in Australia.
We are implementing several initiatives, based on actions from the roadmap, which will:
- raise awareness of hearing health
- build our evidence base
- improve ear health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
- increase capability among our aged care workforce to recognise and deal with hearing loss among older Australians.
Goals of the initiatives
These initiatives will help:
- Australians better understand avoidable hearing loss so that they can prevent it
- ensure our policies and programs are based on sound evidence
- provide quality screening and support services
- improve the ear health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- ensure older Australians with hearing loss have the support they need.
Meeting these goals
We support hearing research to provide further evidence for the effective treatment, service delivery and prevention of hearing loss through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
The research projects receiving funding under this initiative were announced by the Hon Mark Butler MP on 21 October 2022.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander hearing health
We work to promote early identification and treatment of hearing and speech difficulties in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. We fund:
- eligible Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to create quiet spaces for hearing tests
- Hearing Australia to create a ‘Listen and Learn’ program in consultation with the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, to help people who work with or look after Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 3 to 8 to recognise hearing problems and take action.
Aged care workforce
We funded Australian Healthcare Associates to analyse current resources and practices in residential aged care settings and develop a best-practice model to help improve the hearing health of residents.
A Hearing Health Champion pilot was subsequently developed by Ernst and Young. The pilot, which concluded in July 2022, delivered training to participating residential aged care facilities.
Training materials developed for the pilot are being used to inform a hearing health module as part of the Equip Aged Care Learning Packages.
The Equip Aged Care Learning Packages are a series of free online learning modules to support aged care workers with foundational knowledge on key concepts in aged care. The modules will be rolled out progressively from September 2022, with all modules anticipated to be available by March 2023.
We funded Audiology Australia to develop teleaudiology guidelines to help audiologists, audiometrists and hearing services providers deliver safe and effective hearing services remotely.
The guidelines were launched on 27 July 2022 and are now being adopted by the sector.
Regional and rural workforce
We fund Audiology Australia to audit the hearing workforce in rural and regional areas and host a summit with key stakeholders to discuss the audit’s findings.
The audit aimed to capture the gaps, changing demographics and future hearing workforce needs in regional, rural and remote areas.
The summit was held in March 2022 and brought together key professionals and stakeholders to discuss potential ways to better support people with hearing loss who live in regional Australia.
Awareness and prevention campaign
We are developing a national hearing awareness campaign to help:
- prevent avoidable hearing loss
- destigmatise hearing loss
- encourage people experiencing hearing loss to seek treatment.
Consumer focus group research will guide messaging to specific target audiences. The campaign will be launched in 2023.
Who we work with
To progress actions relevant to the Roadmap for Hearing Health we are working with:
- NHMRC – managing the research grants process
- Hearing Australia – delivering the Indigenous hearing health measures
- National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation – co-designing the Listen and Learn program
- Audiology Australia – delivering the teleaudiology guidelines and regional workforce audit and summit measures
- Australian Healthcare Associates – developed the aged care workforce best-practice model
- EY – managing the Hearing Health Aged Care Workforce Training Pilot
- state and territory governments – through the Hearing Health Working Group.