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Hearing Australia calls on veterans to ‘take aim’ at hearing loss to improve wellbeing

Hearing Australia 5 mins read
Military personnel are at higher risk of noise-induced hearing loss.

MEDIA RELEASE
23 April 2024

 

Hearing Australia calls on veterans to

‘take aim’ at hearing loss to improve wellbeing

 

Defence Force personnel have among the noisiest jobs in the world1, and on the eve of ANZAC Day, Hearing Australia is calling on all veterans to ‘take aim’ at hearing loss and, in turn, help address wellbeing issues like loneliness and social isolation.

 

“Military personnel are at a higher risk¹ of noise-induced hearing loss because they’re exposed to high-level noise such as gunfire, explosives and machinery. They can be exposed to dangerous decibel levels of 140dB or more², which can cause irreversible damage in seconds,” says Hearing Australia Principal Audiologist, Karen Hirschausen.

“One demographic that’s most affected by hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears), are veterans³. That’s why we’re urging past and current personnel to not ignore any signs showing they might have damage. Hearing loss can have far-reaching consequences on someone’s life; it can affect their personal life, social life and working life, and can increase loneliness and social isolation.”

 

According to a report⁴ from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), nearly 1 in 10 veterans were socially isolated and nearly 1 in 5 were lonely, which Karen says is a major concern. “As veterans with hearing loss may be at an increased risk for a range of wellbeing issues that affect their community, it’s crucial they get the support they need to have good hearing health, such as access to regular hearing checks and hearing aids when appropriate,” she says.

 

“Hearing loss affects people in different ways, and we have a range of solutions to help people based on their needs and lifestyle. We offer devices that are easy to use, provide clear and natural sound, feature the latest technology, and we also have discreet options. We support our clients in finding the right solution for them so they can start to experience better hearing health outcomes and the benefits this brings to their general health and wellbeing.”

 

Hearing Australia’s research division, the National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL), recently conducted research⁵ focusing on the impact of social isolation and loneliness in elderly adults and the role that hearing loss and the use of hearing aids play. It found that hearing loss increases the risk of elderly adults feeling lonely, and the risk increases if hearing problems affect their ability to communicate and take part in everyday activities with other people. A key message from the NAL study is that using hearing aids regularly can reduce the risk of loneliness.

 

“The research suggests that looking after your hearing doesn’t just help elderly adults to hear sound but can also improve their mental wellbeing,” adds Karen. “In Australia, more than 1.3 million people live with a hearing condition that could have been prevented⁶. This highlights the importance of taking a proactive approach to hearing health for Australians who work in noisy environments, such as Defence Force personnel.”

 

Hearing Australia was founded in 1947 to provide services for returning WWII veterans, and since then has helped more than 150,000 veterans and their families. 

 

For Hearing Australia client and WWII veteran Bert, aged 102, his hearing aids are vital. “I’ve been fortunate I didn’t have any difficulty becoming accustomed to hearing aids, and they’ve become part of me. My favourite sound is hearing little children enjoying themselves, chatting away,” says Bert, who has eight great-grandchildren.

 

Commissioned at age 20, Bert’s military career spanned 38 years. He met his wife Nona in the Army (she joined the Army at 19 and was a corporal in the Signals Corps), and this year they celebrate their 80th wedding anniversary. He is also a proud foundation member of the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RAEME). “ANZAC Day certainly brings back many memories,” says Bert. “My experience with the Army was overall a very happy one. I used to go to the Dawn Service when I was able to and now watch the activities on TV.”

 

Veterans are eligible* to receive subsidised hearing services through the Australian Government Hearing Services Program. A number of veterans with complex hearing needs may require specialist hearing services and additional support, which Hearing Australia provides through the Community Service Obligations (CSO) program, funded by the Australian Government.

 

“We have a proud history of providing services for veterans and their families around the country. We encourage all veterans to have a hearing check and take that first step to better hearing,” says Gina Mavrias, Acting Managing Director of Hearing Australia. “We’re committed to making it easier for Australians to get hearing help, when and where they need it. We have qualified audiologists providing services across more than 450 locations nationwide, as well as offering services through telehealth, online and in clients’ homes.”

 

Signs of hearing loss

  • Asking people to repeat themselves
  • Your family complaining the TV volume is up too loud
  • You hear ringing or buzzing noises in your ears
  • Straining to hear in noisy places (like shopping centres or restaurants)
  • Missing out on everyday sounds

https://www.hearing.com.au/news-and-articles/how-to-tell-if-you-have-a-hearing-loss/

 

Visit the Hearing Australia website at hearing.com.au for more information or call 134 432.

 

*Conditions apply under the Australian Government Hearing Services Program

 

About Hearing Australia

Hearing Australia has been providing expert hearing care to Australians for over 75 years, helping thousands of children, adults, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, pensioners and veterans stay connected with their families and communities every week. Now, more than ever, good hearing is important to keep in touch with loved ones and stay connected to the world around you. With more than 450 audiologists, we offer services through tele-services, online, in home and in centre across over 450 locations Australia-wide. Our goal is to keep you connected to the people and life you love. No matter your age, no matter your hearing need, we make hearing easier for everyone.

 

 

 

References:

¹campaign-communication-kit-for-workplaces.pdf (health.gov.au)

²Noise - Overview | Safe Work Australia

³.p04129-guide-to-better-hearing.pdf (dva.gov.au)

Veteran social connectedness, About - Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (aihw.gov.au)

https://www.nal.gov.au/projects/the-relationship-of-hearing-loss-with-loneliness-socialisolation-and-psychosocial-functioning-in-older-people/ 

About ear health | Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care

 

 

 

 


Key Facts:

- Defence Force personnel have among the noisiest jobs in the world and are at a higher risk of noise-induced hearing loss.

- Veterans are most affected by hearing loss and tinnitus, and this can increase loneliness and social isolation.

- Research shows nearly 1 in 5 veterans are lonely, nearly 1 in 10 are socially isolated.

- New Hearing Australia research shows loneliness in elderly adults is as big a risk to mortality as smoking. It also found using hearing aids regularly can reduce the risk of loneliness.

- Hearing Australia has helped more than 150,000 Australian veterans and their families since it was established to provide services for returning WWII veterans like client Bert, who calls his hearing aids "vital". 


About us:

About Hearing Australia

Hearing Australia has been providing expert hearing care to Australians for over 75 years, helping thousands of children, adults, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, pensioners and veterans stay connected with their families and communities every week. Now, more than ever, good hearing is important to keep in touch with loved ones and stay connected to the world around you. With more than 450 audiologists, we offer services through tele-services, online, in home and in centre across over 450 locations Australia-wide. Our goal is to keep you connected to the people and life you love. No matter your age, no matter your hearing need, we make hearing easier for everyone.

www.hearing.com.au


Contact details:

 

Llewellyn Communications

Lisa Llewellyn                            Belinda Hill

lisa@llewcom.com.au                belinda@llewcom.com.au

0419 401 362                            0438 206 609

 

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