Media release: Australian school kids need more hearing checks
All Australian children will receive hearing checks before starting primary and high school under a six point plan unveiled today as part of a new national campaign to put hearing on the national agenda.
Deafness Forum of Australian Chair, David Brady said Australia has the world’s best screening program for newborns but school age children were falling through the gaps.
One in six Australians – or close to 4 million people – have a hearing health issue.
“Australia is spending billions a year on education but that money is wasted if children are falling behind because they simply cannot hear the teacher is saying,” Mr Brady said.
“If children can’t hear what’s going on around them, they can’t learn properly, they can’t participate and they can feel alone and isolated in the playground.
“Many children experience hearing loss as result of ear infections or other conditions that are not diagnosed, which means our kids aren’t getting the support they need.
“We need to make sure newborn screening is supported by routine hearing testing before students start primary school and high school and that audiology screening is affordable for all Australian children right through their school years. “
The election platform also calls for candidates to support:
- A national hearing awareness promotion campaign;
- Improved accessibility for Auslan;
- Universal access to hearing health checks every five years for people over 50;
- Changes to tax rules to make hearing devices to be tax deductible
- Safeguards for children with hearing loss under changes to the NDIS.
“These are achievable reforms that will make a huge difference to the lives of nearly 4 million Australians with hearing health issues – young and old,” Mr Brady said.
“They’re also an investment that will keep more Australians in work, make sure our kids reach their potential and ease the pressure on our already stretched health budgets.”
The election plan is part of a new national campaign Break The Sound Barrier that has united the deaf community to call for hearing health and well-being to be made a national health priority
Planned activities include online campaigning, local candidate meetings and events. For more about the campaign go to: www.breakthesoundbarrier.com.au