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Hearing Awareness Week

By Susan Templeman MP, Member For Macquarie
Archived 25 Oct 2017 - Posted: 26 Aug 2017
Hearing Awareness Week ends this weekend, and if this is the first time you heard it mentioned you might need a hearing check!

It's estimated that one in seven people has a hearing loss – that is just under 15% of the population, so if you are struggling, know that you aren’t alone.

Alternatively, if you work or live with someone who is constantly saying “Sorry what was that?” there’s a chance that you’re talking to someone with a hearing loss, and you should encourage them to go and get a hearing test.

Most people are pretty comfortable admitting that we can’t see that well, although sometimes it’s only when the arm gets too short to hold a menu that people head off and buy a pair of glasses.

For some reason, people aren’t as comfortable admitting that they don’t hear well and in Hearing Awareness Week, we should be talking about it.

I am perfectly happy to tell you that I have really shocking hearing. But like others who now wear hearing aids, I didn’t realise the consequences until I put those little buds in my ear and suddenly there was clarity!  Sadly, many people don’t adjust to wearing hearing aids and they stay in a bedside drawer.

People have often commented that I look really intent when I am listening to someone. I like to think that it’s my radio journalism listening skills honed over many years, but actually I suspect it’s because I developed the habit of watching people’s lips to make the conversation just a bit easier.

When you don’t hear well a number of things happen. You miss parts of conversations. It’s harder to keep up with the flow of a discussion when a number of people are talking. You annoy your family by making them repeat things and asking them what someone just said in the middle of the movie.

It’s tiring having to work so hard to hear things – whether it’s people or music. It’s also isolating.

The consequences can be serious. A new report, The Social and Economic Cost of Hearing Loss in Australia by Deloitte Access Economics puts the financial costs of hearing loss at $15.9 billion a year. $12.8 billion of that are productivity losses, mainly due to reduced employment of people with hearing loss.

We need to look seriously at how we help these cope with their hearing loss. The Report’s data shows that the money you invest pays a great return for each dollar spent.

A Parliamentary Committee is currently inquiring into the Hearing Health and Wellbeing of Australia and I’ll be looking closely at their recommendations too.

But the big message of Hearing Awareness Week has been that if you have any question about your hearing, go and get a hearing check. For me, having hearing aids has had enormous health benefits and hopefully made me just a little less annoying for my family and friends.

This article archived 25 Oct 2017

 
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