Media release: Mixed bag on hearing health but now they’re listening
The major parties have improved their policies on hearing health and well-being since the last election but there are still huge gaps in support for one in six Australians with a hearing health issues, an analysis of responses to a national six point plan on hearing health shows.
The Break the Sound Barrier Election Scorecard shows mixed responses from all major parties to a six-point election plan for better supports and services on hearing health.
Break the Sound Barrier asked the three major parties to commit to a six-point plan that included hearing checks for school students at key stages of life and over 50s; improved access to Auslan; a national hearing health awareness campaign and changes to tax rules to make hearing devices tax deductible.
The Coalition has committed to reviewing the tax deductible status of hearing aids and other devices that enable people with hearing loss or who live with an ear condition to work.
Labor has committed to reinstating $2 million in funding for disability advocacy groups and to working with state and territory governments, doctors and hearing specialists on ways to improve accessibility to hearing checks for children and people over 50.
The Greens have committed $99.8 million for hearing health, with a large proportion to close the gap in hearing health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
“No party has committed fully to all six-points in our election plan and there is clearly a lot of work to do to get real change for almost 4 million Australians who have hearing loss, live with an ear or balance disorder or are deaf,” Mr Brady said.
“However, for the first time our sector has concrete responses from all major parties on what they are prepared to do for hearing health and well-being. It shows that at last they are listening.”
Mr Brady said in just eight weeks the Break the Sound Barrier campaign has shown it’s a force to be reckoned with.
It has united the community, hearing professionals and the services providers in a single grassroots campaign to make hearing health and well being a national health priority.
“This is only the beginning. Over the next few months we’ll be sharing our stories on-line and in the media and through community events across the country to put hearing health on the national health national agenda,” he said.
The Break the Sound Barrier election scorecard and the full party responses are at http://breakthesoundbarrier.org.au/party-responses