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Response To Report of the Independent Review of the Hearing Services Program

Media Release

30 September 2021

Hearing Service Program Only One Piece of the Puzzle as Audiology Australia Backs Calls for Holistic Hearing Care

Welcoming today’s release of the Report of the Independent Review of the Hearing Services Program, Audiology Australia (AudA) says the Hearing Services Program’s (HSP) success and effectiveness in meeting individuals’ hearing health needs is dependent on holistic service delivery.

“The HSP is one part of a bigger puzzle that services a wide range of often multi-factorial hearing health needs. Recommendations put forward by the Hearing Services Program Expert Panel acknowledge audiology and hearing health as more than fitting hearing devices and recognise the importance of shaping service delivery to reflect the broad scope of need,” said Dr Barbra Timmer, Audiology Australia President.

The professional peak body for audiology in Australia, AudA said it was pleased to see a clear focus on clarifying the HSP’s objectives and its role in supporting high-risk and vulnerable Australians with proposed service access expansion and greater choice for young adults and adults with complex needs, as well as low-income healthcare card holders, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and permanent aged care residents.

AudA CEO, Dr Tony Coles, said in response to the release of the report, “The Hearing Services Program has an important role to play as a safety net for some of the most vulnerable members of the community who are often at high risk of hearing loss, but face barriers accessing services and supports due to affordability. The recommendations in the report are an important step to ensuring more Australians get the hearing healthcare they need.”

Dr Coles said he was pleased to see recommendations in today’s report reflected the need for deeper understanding of the broader role of audiology and the importance of a person-centred approach to hearing health that reflects individual needs, circumstances, and lifestyles.

Dr Coles also said, “We are pleased to see teleaudiology included in today’s recommendations as an important tool that will expand hearing health service delivery options under the Hearing Services Program to ensure Australians can access quality care and support regardless of location. AudA, in consultation with the hearing health sector, is leading development of teleaudiology guidelines to support hearing healthcare practitioners (audiologists and audiometrists) to provide access to effective and safe flexible hearing services. It is now in the second phase of consultation with roll out expected in 2022.

AudA is also leading the Hearing Health Sector Alliance’s development of the National Paediatric Audiology Competency Standards. The standards will provide much-needed clarification and guidance to providers and consumers on the minimum requirements and expectations for delivery of paediatric audiological services.

While welcoming the release of the report, AudA noted that further consultation with the hearing health sector is required to deliver on some of the recommendations. Dr Timmer said Audiology Australia looked forward to continuing to work with the Australian Government to ensure clinical audiological services meet the community’s hearing health needs and expectations.

AudA is available for comment on the report and its recommendations.

About Audiology Australia

Audiology Australia is the peak professional association representing audiologists in Australia. Established in 1968, it has a current membership of over 3,000 audiologists representing approximately 95% of the profession.

Audiology Australia’s mission is to provide leadership in the science and practice of audiology through advocacy, education and networking. We enable audiologists to deliver the highest standards of person-centred care. Audiology Australia provides professional accreditation for audiologists. Professional accreditation by Audiology Australia is a requirement to provide audiological services that fall under Medicare, the Hearing Services Program, state and territory work cover schemes, as well as many private health insurance funds. The profession of audiology is self regulating, and Audiology Australia strives to help our members achieve the highest standards when delivering services to their clients.

More Information

Full Copy of the Report
About the Paediatric Competency Standards
About the Teleaudiology Guidelines
About the National Competency Standards

For Interview

Dr Barbra Timmer, Audiology Australia Board President
Dr Tony Coles, Audiology Australia CEO

Contact:

Laura Watson
Audiology Australia Communications and PR Manager
Ph. 04215 18733 E. laura.watson@audiology.asn.au

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