It aims to eliminate the stigma, isolation, lack of work opportunities, and the associated health issues to improve the overall quality of life for people with deafness or hearing impairment.
It is often described as the ‘invisible disability’. This is partly because hearing aids tend not to be obvious and also because those affected are often isolated through lack of access to communications.
“We need Australians to understand the various degrees of hearing loss and ear and balance disorders and how to communicate effectively with people who are Deaf or hearing impaired,” said Gladstone audiologist, Alan Fort.
“As technology advances, many people with hearing loss benefit from hearing aids and cochlear implants. These innovations have made a positive difference in the way they can communicate and enjoy their lives, but communication can be exhausting for a hearing-impaired person, even with a hearing aid or cochlear implant,” he said.
“People often wait for years before they seek help for their hearing loss. They ignore the signs, which include turning the TV or stereo up so loud that others complain, frequently needing to ask others to repeat themselves and not being able to hear properly on the telephone.”
“Many people, especially adults, cannot afford to buy and maintain their own hearing devices. One of the greatest challenges is a lack of recognition of the life-long financial burdens to access education and to participate fully in the workforce,” Alan said.
The number of Australians who are deaf or hearing impaired is increasing because of long-term exposure to excessive noise – often in the workplace – accidents, the environment and the aging of the population.