On 4 March 2020, to mark Hearing Awareness Week, HCIA released research about the value of expanding the hearing services program to low income earners. More than 8000 financially vulnerable people could return to the workforce under proposed changes to the national Hearing Services Program (HSP).
To help raise awareness of hearing health and impairment this World Hearing Day and during Hearing Awareness Week, HCIA commissioned Deloitte Access Economics to update the 2017 Social and Economic Cost of Hearing Loss in Australia and calculate a new eligibility for the HSP for vulnerable Australians.
The HCIA Hearing for Life – The value of hearing services for vulnerable Australians – March 2020 report found that the number of Australians with hearing loss is 3.95 million people in 2019-20 – or 15.3% of the population – a 9.7% increase from 3.6 million people in 2017.
Australians of working age with hearing loss are ineligible for hearing health care under the Hearing Services Program (HSP). Hearing loss can lead to premature retirement, a greater number of sick days and diminished capacity to work productively due to an impaired ability or psychological stress.
Extending the HSP to financially vulnerable Australians aged 26-64 years would cost the Government $25.3 million annually.
Deloitte Access Economics’ modelling found that providing hearing health care and devices to financially vulnerable Australians free of charge would likely assist 8,091 people into employment. This investment would deliver an estimated 10.6 to 1 return in Government benefits relative to Government costs. Over $268 million would be gained in employment and transfer benefits, relative to the cost of $25 million for extending the HSP.
To find out more:
Read the Summary of Key Findings of the report prepared by Deloitte Access Economics: Hearing for life – The value of hearing services for vulnerable Australians.
View the HCIA media release.