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New tool launched to help Aussies manage their hearing health

New tool launched to help Aussies manage their hearing health

1 in 6 Australians experience hearing loss1

Audiology Australia urging people to visit an accredited audiologist for regular hearing checks

Australians can now search a database of nearly 400 audiologists to find the right accredited clinician for them. The ‘Find an Audiologist’ search tool was launched this week by Audiology Australia, the peak national representative body for audiologists. It aims to ensure people are seeking care for their hearing health from clinicians who meet the gold standard of professional recognition in audiology.

Hearing loss is diagnosed by audiologists. Audiologists help people preserve, manage and improve their hearing and balance, and the ability to process and understand sounds.

Clinicians available on the new search tool are accredited by Audiology Australia. They participate in ongoing professional development to offer the highest quality care and provide services lawfully, safely and in the best interest of their clients.

Dr Tony Coles, CEO of Audiology Australia, believes the new tool is an important way to make it easier for consumers to visit an accredited audiologist for regular hearing checks.

“Australians across the country can use the tool find an audiologist based on their geographic location or the clinician’s specialty area. It can also be used to look up audiologists by name and check that their current clinician, or one that they have been referred to by a GP, is accredited.”

“Being able to communicate with your clinician is extremely important in this field. Those with different language preferences are able to utilise the search tool to find an audiologist who speaks their preferred language, with over 40 language options available in the database,” said Coles.

Dr Barbra Timmer, President of Audiology Australia and accredited audiologist believes Australians often neglect their hearing health.

“We get our teeth and eyes checked regularly, but our hearing seems to be forgotten. There are many ways to improve hearing health, especially if the symptoms are recognised and treated early. It can take people years to seek help after they notice the initial signs of hearing loss. This is simply too long to wait,” said Timmer.

Hearing health can have a significant impact on a person’s overall health and wellbeing. Research suggests that people with mild symptoms of hearing loss may be twice as likely to develop dementia2. Researchers have also reported that patients with even low-frequency hearing loss should be regarded as “at risk” for cardiovascular events3.

“Hearing ability can have a huge impact on a person’s social life. Those with acquired hearing loss can experience loss of intimacy, casual communication and reduced social engagement, increasing feelings of frustration, sadness and isolation,” said Timmer.

In Australia, almost 3.6 million people suffer from hearing loss and over 1.3 million people are living with a preventable hearing condition4. Projections show that prevalence is expected to more than double by 20605. The biggest causes of hearing loss are age and excessive exposure to loud noise4.

Hearing loss costs the Australian government an estimated $15.9 billion annually – with 81% of this funding accounting for productivity losses, as well as reduced employment and informal care costs5.

For more information, visit: www.audiology.asn.au

References

  1. Health Direct. Hearing Loss. Accessed Oct 2020 from https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/hearing-loss
  2. Dementia Australia. Hearing loss and dementia. Accessed Oct 2020 from https://www.dementia.org.au/sites/default/files/helpsheets/Helpsheet-OtherInformation04-HearingLoss_english.pdf
  3. The Hearing Review. Hearing Loss and Associated Comorbidities: What Do We Know? Accessed Nov 2020 from https://www.hearingreview.com/hearing-loss/hearing-loss-prevention/risk-factors/hearing-loss-associated-comorbidities-know
  4. Australian Department of Health. Ear health. Accessed Oct 2020 from https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/ear-health
  5. The Hearing Industry Care Association. The Social and Economic Cost of Hearing Loss in Australia. Accessed Oct 2020 from http://www.hcia.com.au/hcia-wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Social-and-Economic-Cost-of-Hearing-Health-in-Australia_June-2017.pdf

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