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Hearing Health and Wellbeing declared an International Priority

Health leaders throughout the world have made hearing an international priority at a meeting of the World Health Assembly in Geneva.    Australia was among the many member nations that endorsed a strategy to tackle the massive social and economic costs of hearing loss and ear disorders.

360 million people live with disabling hearing loss including 32 million children.  Hearing loss prevalence is increasing globally due to the growth in populations of older adults, one third of whom have hearing loss; the continued high prevalence of chronic ear diseases; and the increasing practice of listening at high volume to unsafe levels of sound for prolonged periods, putting the hearing of over one billion young people aged 12-35 years at risk.

In Australia, an estimated 3.5 million people – one in six of the population – live with hearing loss.    Australia and other members of the World Health Organisation are urged to make a priority of integrating strategies for ear and hearing care within the framework of their primary health care systems.

People who have hearing loss can benefit greatly from timely and appropriate interventions.  This includes the use of hearing devices, captioning and sign language, and other forms of educational and social support.  Despite this, those in need are often unable to access such services.

Australia’s government is undertaking in inquiry into the Hearing Health and Wellbeing of Australians.  We hope that the results of that inquiry will:

  1. Fund  essential audiological services  including counselling, therapy and environmental adjustments  for all Australian who D/deaf or hard of hearing.
  2. Recognise audiologists as members of the primary healthcare team.
  3. Regulate audiology to ensure a separation of the profession from the hearing device industry, fostering healthy relationshis between the two but ensuring independent advice is available to all.

World Hearing Day coincides with ACCC report on hearing aid industry

The ACCC report on its investigation into the hearing aid industry was made on World Hearing Day (3 March 2017).

The ACCC has released a concise report and a short document that provides a guideline to members of the public who are considering purchasing hearing devices.

View the ACCC consumer guideline HERE.

View the ACCC 2017 Concise Report on the hearing aid industry HERE

Independent Audiologists Australia (IAA) appreciates the attention that the ACCC has given to the business practices associated with the selling of hearing aids – including sales targets, commissions on device sales and ownership structures of clinics.  The ACCC report brings into focus many of the concerns expressed by IAA in relation to the practice of the audiology profession.  IAA looks forward to participating in ongoing initiatives to ensure public protection and regulation that will ensure that audiology services are trusted by all Australians.

ABC News reported on the ACCC report, with items appearing on radio, television and online.  Commercial television stations also reported on the issues associated with the selling of hearing aids.

The ABC World News report featuring IAA Executive Officer, Louise Collingridge, calling for registration of audiologists in Australia, can be accessed HERE.

Grant Collins, Vice President of IAA was interviewed by ABC Radio 630 in Queensland.  He explained that regulation of the audiology profession and hearing device industry is very limited.  He also provided advice to the public who are Office of Hearing Services voucher holders to ensure fully subsidised hearing aids are discussed and that anyone paying for hearing aids ought to be fully aware of how their specific clinical needs would be met by the features in those hearing aids.  Grant explained that advanced noise filtering in hearing aids, one of the most common features of expensive hearing devices, may have little benefit for those with processing difficulties (which may be due to age)  or little residual hearing – even though one of the most common complaints to audiologists is difficulty hearing in noise.

Choice Magazine have issued a short article in response to the ACCC – HERE.

Deafness Forum issued a special report on the ACCC that includes invited responses from various organizations, including IAA – HERE.

Port News featured an article on 20 March, featuring IAA member  Dr Daniel Mestric calling for changes to regulation – HERE

 

Government Inquiries – View Submissions Online Now

IAA has contributed to both the following concurrent inquiries:
Inquiry into the Hearing Health and Wellbeing of Australia by the Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport
View and download submissions here

IAA contributed to a follow up public hearing on 6 April 2017.

The provision of hearing services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) by the Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS
View and download submissions here

A follow up public hearing took take place in Melbourne on 20 February 2017,    to which IAA contributed.

You can access IAA submissions and contribution to the inquiry using the following links: