Age care minister Ken Wyatt has welcomed the official launch of a new national network of hearing clinics.
SpecSavers Audiology has launched with six clinics, in Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and the ACT, but has plans for 200 across the country.
Around 3.6 million Australians are affected by hearing loss, at an annual cost to the economy of around $16 billion, according to a report commissioned by the Hearing Care Industry Association.
The report projected that by 2060 the number of Australians with hearing loss will more than double to 7.8 million - equivalent to one-in-five people - and that up to 50 per cent of younger Australians are likely to develop hearing loss after five years of exposure to loud music.
“Complete or partial deafness can rob us of independence, self-esteem, learning capacity and the ability to socialise and communicate with others, but having a simple hearing test can prevent many of these problems," said Minister Wyatt.
“A recent report estimates the economic and social cost of hearing loss to our nation runs into billions of dollars each year.”
SpecSavers Audiology has been accredited through the Australian Government’s Hearing Services Program, which supports eligible people with a range of fully or partially subsidised services.
“In the past year, we have invested more than half a billion dollars in the program and have been able to assist over 700,000 Australians to hear better, with more than 1.3 million services delivered in total.
“These include hearing assessments, advice and support, and assistance with the fitting of appropriate hearing aids. Hopefully, more people will now have hearing tests, because research shows that currently, only one-third of those with hearing loss do something about it,” added Minister Wyatt.