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Audiology Australia welcomes the Australian Government’s response to ‘Still waiting to be heard’

Audiology Australia welcomes the Australian Government’s response to the parliamentary inquiry into Hearing Health and Wellbeing and its report, Still Waiting to be Heard.

We were pleased to see the Government’s support for recommendation one and initiatives that will help reduce ear disease and hearing loss among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, which is at crisis levels. However, we were not surprised by the Government’s response to recommendation 13 as this reflects the consistent advice we have received from Government on this matter.

In recommendation 13, the Government stated that it does not intend to pursue the registration of the audiology and audiometry professions into the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) framework. This was because new professions are included only “where a significant risk to public safety was identified and where there are no other regulatory mechanisms in place that can ensure public safety and quality of service provision.”

The Government’s response highlighted the current National Code of Conduct for Healthcare Workers that sets minimum standards of behaviour for health professionals, including audiologists and audiometrists, and on which our Code of Conduct is based.

While as noted in our submission, we would welcome any consideration by Government to include audiology as a registered profession, until that time, we will continue to strive for the highest standards of self-regulation through the National Alliance of Self-Regulating Health Professions (NASHRP), which are modelled on AHPRA’s standards.

Audiology Australia also welcome the Government’s support of NASHRP and comment that NASHRP facilitates “national consistency in quality and supports for self-regulating health professionals and satisfies national and jurisdictional regulatory requirements…this provides assurance to patients they are receiving a quality service from a certified health professional”.

In our submission to the inquiry, Audiology Australia called for:

initiatives to enable audiologists to work together with the aged care workforce to meet the hearing healthcare needs of aged care recipients

all sources of funding for audiologists’ services to allow for the utilisation of teleaudiology

increased community awareness of hearing loss and hearing health issues, including that good hearing healthcare involves a lot more than hearing aids.

Audiology Australia will continue to advocate for these and other issues through its representation and ongoing work on the Hearing Healthcare Committee. The committee is made up of hearing sector representatives and is currently developing a roadmap for hearing health, designed to lead to improvements for hearing health for all Australians.

The Government’s response to the report is available here.

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