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Hearing Awareness Week launched today.



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Media Release

The Hon Julie Bishop MP Minister for Ageing

24 August 2004 JB169/04

Hearing Awareness Week launched today

“Babies can’t wait to communicate” is the message for the 2005 Hearing Awareness Week, being held this week, the Minister for Ageing, Julie Bishop, said today.

“This year, Hearing Awareness Week focuses on babies with hearing difficulties and the importance of early detection,” Ms Bishop said.

“Early detection is the key to ensuring babies and young children access hearing interventions as soon as possible and are not disadvantaged socially and intellectually in the longer term.”

“Hearing loss is already estimated to be the second most prevalent health condition in Australia, with about one in every five people over the age of 15 years experiencing some sort of hearing impairment.”

“The rate of incidence increases as we age, with half of the population between the ages of 60 and 70 years having some degree of hearing loss, a figure which increases to more than 70 per cent for those over 70 years.”

“Hearing loss is an important health issue in Australia and the Australian Government is proud to support one of the best government-funded programs in the world,” Ms Bishop said.

The Australian Government has allocated almost $215 million this year to hearing related programs, assisting some 400,000 people. Almost $7.6 million, available over four years, has been allocated to help about 900 children with complex hearing needs gain improved access to cochlear implant speech processors.

“I encourage all Australians to become involved with the activities that are taking place during Hearing Awareness Week, including free hearing tests being offered by some hearing services,” Ms Bishop said.

For more information on Hearing Awareness Week activities in your area, visit www.deafnessforum.org.au/haw2004.htm .

Media contact: Rachael Thompson 02 6277 7280 or 0417 265 289