HHSA 2023-25 PROPOSED HEARING HEALTH PRIORITIES
February 28, 2023
Creating Hearing Health Outcomes for All Australians
It is estimated that 3.6 million or one in six Australians experience some form of hearing impairment. Hearing is immensely personal, and it is individuals who are the primary participants in managing their physical and mental health and communication needs. Australia’s world-leading hearing sector has done much to address this challenge. But today we stand at a crossroad.
The strategic challenges and opportunities remain significant. Australia has an ageing population which will increase demand for hearing services and Australia has been failing in providing ear and hearing health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members of our community, which will slow closing the gap.
Under the previous government, Australia’s first Roadmap for Hearing Health was developed. The Roadmap identified key priorities as well as over 140 key actions that needed to occur within Australia in order to achieve over 44 ‘outcomes’. While it was lauded by many involved in the sector it was difficult in prioritising the actions for Government and for the sector.
Now is the time for the Albanese Labor Government to create its own hearing health priorities, ones that will create once in a generation change for millions of Australians. The hearing health sector is united in the call to the Government that it can take some clear and immediate actions to address the failings of recent approaches, whilst building on the work it has previously led, and integrates with other initiatives.
Prioritising Hearing Health Initiatives
The Albanese Labor Government has an opportunity to create a unique legacy in hearing health. To support this, representing major stakeholders within the hearing health sector, the Hearing Health Sector Alliance (the Alliance) recommends to Government that it focuses on the following five (5) urgent areas:
An ongoing national prevention and awareness communication strategy including a public awareness campaign
Closing the gap on ear and hearing health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples - particularly developing an integrated national approach to undertaking ear health checks of children aged 0-6 and where annual child health check processes ensures no child ‘slips through the cracks’
Significantly enhancing hearing health for older Australians particularly lifting the quality of assessment and hearing health care in residential aged care facilities
Greater support for vulnerable Australians, including those on low incomes in accessing affordable hearing health care
Enhance and focus research to inform the development of public policy.