Hearing Services Program Review – draft report

Soundfair welcomes and commends this comprehensive, broad-minded and deeply insightful review of the Hearing Services Program from the panel. The executive summary and full draft report can be read here.

This report is a phenomenal, landmark achievement and, if implemented, will place Australia as a world leader in hearing health. As a consumer voice and centring stories of lived experience, Soundfair was pleased to contribute to the review.

Soundfair’s vision is a fair – fulfilling, accessible, inclusive and respectful – world for people with hearing conditions. As recognised by the review, that’s currently more than 1-in-6 Australians and, by 2050, will be more than a quarter of all Australians.

Understanding that people are more than just ears and hearing conditions require more than just devices is core to Soundfair’s ethos.

The review made two fundamental points: there is immense social and economic benefit to 1. extending Hearing Services Program support to include low-income healthcare card holders and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians; and 2. to reconfigure the Hearing Services Program to be outcome oriented rather than device centric.

Soundfair believes that implementing these two recommendations is key to ensuring an equitable and effective Hearing Services Program.

Soundfair also welcomes and commends the recommendations for clearly stated objectives for the Hearing Services Program and to enshrine evidence-based decision making within the program.

Soundfair stands ready to help in the implementation of these recommendations.

With a more than 85-year history of amplifying the voices of people living with hearing conditions, Soundfair believes that listening to and learning from the full diversity of lived experience is key to creating a fairer world. When implemented, the Hearing Services Program Review will be transformative, but we all have a part to play in creating a fair world for people with hearing conditions. The HearMe Project is working to bring hearing equality closer, find out more by reading the report.