More older Queenslanders with hearing loss will be able to stay socially connected with the help of a $110,000 Significant Grant and a $110,000 interest-free loan from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland to Hear and Say, world-leading experts in hearing technology and listening and spoken language therapy.
The capacity-building hand-up will allow Hear and Say to accelerate the growth of their new Adult Hearing and Rehabilitation program, which provides adults with access to technologies such as hearing aids or cochlear implants and skills to manage the everyday impacts of hearing loss.
The funding also supports the social enterprise structure of the Adult Hearing and Rehabilitation program, which sees any surplus funding directed to support Hear and Say’s work with children who are deaf or hard of hearing to hear, listen and speak.
Hear and Say CEO Chris McCarthy said one of the benefits of the funding would be to assist with educating adults on hearing rehabilitation strategies.
“Hearing loss can occur at any age, at any time, and can slowly affect the way you interact with the world,” Mr McCarthy said.
“Living well with hearing loss does not depend exclusively on the use of hearing technologies, and we work to give more adults the skills needed to overcome hearing barriers in their everyday life.
“The program’s social enterprise model will also fill funding gaps for Hear and Say’s not-for-profit programs, which support children who are born deaf and in need.”
Hand Heart Pocket CEO Gary Mark said the initiative was identified as an increasingly urgent cause to support given Australia’s ageing population, and that it supported his organisation’s broader strategy to help improve outcomes for this group.
“Hearing loss is a common condition currently affecting approximately one in six Australians, and with an ageing population, this figure is anticipated to increase to one in four by 2050,” Mr Mark said.
“While our core focus is helping to improve outcomes for youth at risk, our broader strategy also gives us the opportunity to back important initiatives that support our ageing population, men’s mental and physical health and women’s financial and physical security.
“This initiative not only aligned well with our broader strategy but would also benefit our younger generation through Hear and Say’s social enterprise model.”
Hear and Say’s Adult Hearing and Rehabilitation program is currently provided across its centres in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba, and through a dedicated clinic based at AVEO Springfield.
For more information about Hear and Say please visit www.hearandsay.com.au.