Older Queenslanders like Lynne are now living life to the fullest thanks to better hearing.
The 70-year-old grandmother said, “Since having the hearing aids fitted, I can go to the theatre and I can go to the movies and I can actually hear what’s being said instead of only picking up half of it and I feel more integrated with people, with society, going out to a café with a friend, spending time with my grandchildren.”
“It’s much easier, I can hear what they’re saying and I don’t disturb the neighbours with the television on at full blast,” she said with a laugh.
Currently an estimated 3.6 million Australians have hearing loss, with this figure expected to double by 2060. In fact, every second person knows someone affected by hearing loss.
In response to the growing number of older Queenslanders with hearing loss, not-for-profit Hear and Say has expanded their service offering, having supported children and families for almost three decades.
Hear and Say Acting CEO Bridget Murray said the organisation’s new website is helping to better connect clients with the help they need.
“Knowledge is power, as they say and having access to valuable information and resources such as videos and case studies on hearing loss can really help give clarity to older Queenslanders looking to address their hearing loss,” Ms Murray said.
“More and more seniors are now online, so they now also book appointments for hearing tests, hearing aids and cochlear implants through our website.
“Hearing loss can have such a negative impact on an older person’s life. By tackling this sooner, we can help to restore their dignity, regain choice and reconnect socially.”
As isolating as hearing loss can be, Lynne can also understand people’s initial apprehension to seeking help.
“People seem to have a thing about hearing aids. They don’t have any problem with wearing glasses, but wearing hearing aids they probably feel a little bit, maybe threatened by it.”
Her message to others is not to be ashamed if you’ve got a hearing problem.
“It’s just something we have to accept as we’re getting older. The hearing aids these days are small, they fit nicely behind our ears and I don’t really think anyone is aware of the fact that we are wearing them.
“They’re wonderful [hearing aids] and it’s just nice to be able to hear what’s going on, hear the birds singing and general life.”
The revamped Hear and Say website was funded by a $49,500 philanthropic grant from Eastern Star Foundation. The charity was one of five not-for-profits to share in over $300,000 in funding as part of Eastern Star Foundation’s 2021 grant round.
Eastern Star Foundation Chairman Jonathan Nantes congratulated Hear on Say on the launch of their new website.
“Eastern Star Foundation is proud to partner with Hear and Say on this important initiative,” Mr Nantes said.
“We are focused on empowering those who enhance the quality of life of our ageing communities.
“We commend Hear and Say for addressing this gap in the market around support for the increasing number of older Queenslanders with hearing loss, and are pleased to help catalyse their vital work.”
 The State of Hearing Report. (2019). Retrieved from Cochlear website: https://www.cochlear.com/0b77bb79-d5f6-4afe-9086-fcde0c72ae65/D1591517+4.2+FEB19+Global+state+of+hearing+report+GB_WEB.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CONVERT_TO=url&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE-0b77bb79-d5f6-4afe-9086-fcde0c72ae65-mAN.EVf
Photo: Eastern Star Foundation Chairman Jonathan Nantes, Eastern Star Foundation Director Leigh Kennedy, Eastern Star Foundation Secretary Beth Littler and Hear and Say Acting CEO Bridget Murray.