Week 2014

HCIA’s parliamentary breakfast – hearing awareness week 2014

On Wednesday 27 August 2014, the Hearing Care Industry Association (HCIA) held its 3rd Parliamentary Breakfast at Parliament House. The breakfast coincided with Hearing Awareness Week. The breakfast was attended by Senator The Hon Fiona Nash, Assistant Minister for Health, and Senator The Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Human Services along with over 40 other guests comprising Parliamentarians, advisors, senior representatives of the Department of Health, consumer groups and members of the hearing care industry.

The speakers at the breakfast raised two important themes. Firstly, Parliamentarians were urged to consider expanding the Commonwealth Hearing Services Program to ensure full and better employment prospects for working age people with hearing loss. Secondly, in light of the current scoping study being conducted into Australian Hearing, a plea was made to Parliamentarians to ensure that high quality national hearing services that are currently delivered to children, Indigenous and rural communities and others throughout Australia will be maintained in the future.

Nina Quinn, the CEO of Neurosensory and a member of the Hearing Care Industry Association spoke from personal experience about living and working with a hearing impairment, and emphasised that hearing is a critical sense for effective participation in life, in work, and for interacting with family and friends.

HCIA’s guests also heard from Jodie Ryan, who spoke of her life experience as a hearing impaired person. Jodie said that working age adults need a subsidy to offset the upfront costs of hearing aids and noted that everybody – whether child, pensioner or working adult – deserves a chance to hear properly.

Senator, The Hon Fiona Nash, Assistant Minister for Health, represented the Prime Minister and outlined that the Australian Government is committed to further identifying and addressing the potential barriers to treatment so more people living with hearing loss can lead productive lives.

Ann Porter, the founder and CEO of Aussie Deaf Kids made a plea to the Government to ensure that a special focus remains on hearing impaired children, especially if the sale of Australian Hearing proceeds.

The breakfast was an excellent opportunity to hear from people who have been affected in some way by a hearing impairment, and to make known to Parliamentarians that HCIA stands ready to assist in any way it can to support policy initiatives which will improve the lives of hearing impaired Australians. HCIA is very thankful to all speakers and to those who attended for helping to make the breakfast such a successful event.