Skip to content
Community, Medical Health Aged Care

Post-flood boost to hearing services in Northern Rivers region (embargoed until Friday 4 August, 1.00pm)

NextSense 3 mins read

The NextSense Alstonville centre was officially opened today (Friday), replacing the not-for-profit organisation’s Lismore centre, which was destroyed in the 2022 floods.

NextSense has serviced the town and surrounding areas for more than 20 years and its Alstonville centre is the Northern Rivers region’s sole cochlear implant and early intervention facility for children and adults with hearing loss.

“The impacts of last year’s flood disaster are far-reaching and continue to reverberate, with many stories of suffering in the region,” said NextSense Chief Executive Chris Rehn.

“While the loss of our Lismore centre was a huge blow, our story is also one of community and resilience. The NextSense team is privileged to have found a new home so quickly and to be staying as part of the fabric of this great community. Our local staff will continue to work as a team to create a program of care unique to each client.

"Access to our services for more than two decades, including in Lismore and now in Alstonville, has ensured quality hearing care for people in the region, contributing to improvements in people’s health, communication and social wellbeing. Loss of hearing is one of the most prevalent disabilities in Australia, with about 3.6 million Australians living with hearing loss. By 2060 that’s expected to double to more than 7.8 million people, so we need to continue our commitment to getting people the services they need.”

The re-opening has also brought a new benefit to the region: easier access to wrap-around hearing healthcare through a partnership with leading ear surgeon Dr Joshua Jervis-Bardy, who now shares premises with NextSense at Alstonville.

The new centre is situated close to both Lismore Base Hospital and St Vincent’s Lismore, servicing clients through the public and private healthcare systems. Services include early intervention in children, pre-surgery assessment and post-surgery rehabilitation in children and adults.

Dr Jervis-Bardy, an ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon who has a special interest in complex ear surgeries and also conducts outreach work focused on better management of otitis media in Indigenous children, said that access to regional health facilities such as the Alstonville centre brought many benefits.

“While treatment options are available, people often wait 10 years or more before they reach out for help with their hearing loss. Hearing loss can be linked with social isolation and loneliness, anxiety and depression and is the biggest modifiable risk for dementia in middle age,” he said.

“It is therefore critical that everyone has access to quality hearing services, including audiology, outpatient ENT services and access to ENT surgery.”

Mr Rehn said the doors are open thanks to the generous efforts of many.

“This would not have been possible without the support of our generous donors, including the Parramore Family and JLDJS Foundation, and the NextSense Board. Support from our partners was also critical. Hearing Australia, for example, provided us with office space to keep some services running as we found a new home.”

Key Facts:

- One in six Australian adults are affected by hearing loss, with this predicted to double by 2060.

- One in three Australians over the age of 65 are living with hearing loss.

- Hearing loss affects more Australians than diabetes or asthma

- People often wait 10 years or more before they seek help for their hearing loss.

- Two thirds of people with hearing loss go untreated and fewer than 10% of adults who could benefit from a cochlear implant have explored this option.

- Hearing loss is linked with social isolation, loneliness, anxiety and depression and is the number one modifiable risk for dementia in middle age.

About us:

NextSense is a 163-year-old not-for-profit organisation providing services to people who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or have low vision across Australia. A registered NDIS provider, we’re committed to helping people with hearing and vision loss redefine what’s possible on their own terms. With the support of generous donations, NextSense is a world leader in research and professional education in our field. We provide more cochlear implants than any other service in Australia.

Contact details:

Helen Simpson
M: 0406 686 047

Kellie Bisset
M: 0420 456 941

More from this category

  • Medical Health Aged Care
  • 30/11/2023
  • 06:05
Royal Australian College of GPs

RACGP calls on Queensland to reduce pressure on hospitals and improve the health of Queenslanders

As Queensland hospitals grapple with devastating ramping, bed shortages, and delays, there has never been a more crucial time for the state to invest in general practice to keep people healthy in the community, says the Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP). A perfect storm of factors, including an aging population, epidemic of chronic disease, and acute workforce shortages, is putting increasing pressure on Queensland’s hospitals, prompting the RACGP to make its first Budget submission to the state government. RACGP Queensland Chair Dr Cathryn Hester said investment in general practice is key to reducing pressure on Queensland's hospital system. “Queensland’s…

  • Community, General News
  • 30/11/2023
  • 06:01
eSafety Commissioner

Keeping women and their children safe from tech-based abuse

Digital disruptor tools, anti-harassment software, perpetrator intervention schemes and a major national awareness campaign are among projects funded under the Australian Government’s $10 million Preventing Tech-based Abuse of Women Grants Program. Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland announced today seven grants totalling $3 million had been awarded by eSafety to universities and non-government organisations in the first round of grants under the program. eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said the projects demonstrated innovative approaches to support safe, gender-equal online spaces for women and their children. “These initiatives leverage the unique expertise of our successful applicants to address tech-based abuse from a…

  • General News, Medical Health Aged Care
  • 30/11/2023
  • 06:00
UNSW Sydney

Meet Viv: an AI character fostering companionship for people with dementia

With a view to improving the lives of people living with dementia, UNSW researchers have come up with a world-first: an AI driven companion.…

  • Contains:

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time your distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.