It is with great excitement that I connect with you, as members, stakeholders and followers, as CEO of Better Hearing Australia (VIC). In this message, I’d like to share with you a few of my early learnings and how I am going to ensure that Better Hearing Australia (VIC) makes a difference for you and our community.
One thing is clear to me already: Better Hearing Australia (VIC) is committed to empowering and supporting all people with hearing loss and related conditions and their families, to enjoy life to its fullest. As a charity and not for profit organisation, we offer a uniquely independent service and support network that compliments the work of other providers and professionals. We are collaborative, creative and we care.
With a changing landscape in how health services are provided, the large amount of choice and information available, our commitment is all the more important into the future, and this is something I am personally passionate about and have done lots of research on (here’s an article which discusses some of my research). At Better Hearing Australia (VIC), we can provide truly person-centred hearing care.
MEETING WITH MEMBERS, STAKEHOLDERS AND THE COMMUNITY
My first month at Better Hearing Australia (VIC) has been a fantastic learning experience; I have focused on listening, learning and making connections. This will be a key theme in my role. I have met board members, stakeholders, policy makers and observed first-hand how we can empower and support people with hearing loss and related conditions. I will continue to meet with stakeholders. For example, in March, I look forward to meeting with Gerard Mansour, Commissioner for Senior Victorians, who is supportive of the organisation and has in the past provided expert advice about how to connect conversations about hearing loss with aging well. I look forward to meeting with fellow service providers, health professionals, Government and advocates. If I haven’t met with you, and you’d like to share your perspective, please get in touch!
We are planning a member’s morning tea to be held in Hearing Awareness Week between March 3-9, look out for information about this and if you’d like to join us as a member you can follow the link here.
I am looking forward to presenting a series of hearing health education seminars in the coming months across the Northern Metro, Eastern Metro, Western Metro & Barwon regions. In these seminars, I will share latest research findings, how to navigate funding systems as they relate to hearing and communication and discuss hearing loss and how to manage it. These seminars give me the opportunity to interact with the community face-to-face. We are always open to presenting to new communities and groups; get in touch if you would like to discuss how we can work with you.
The Better Hearing Australia (VIC) Board are finalising their 2019-2021 strategic plan which will shape and motivate how we work into the future. The Board are forward-thinking and positive, and this is an exciting time for us.
This plan will set the direction and shape the future for BHA, ensuring that we remain strong advocates in the community by providing a support network for some of the most vulnerable people across the state including asylum seekers, refugees, single-income families and low-income earners. We look forward to sharing the Strategic Plan with you in coming months.
WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE HEARING SPACE GENERALLY?
- The Hon Ken Wyatt MP’s Roadmap for Hearing Health
The Australian Government has shown great commitment to hearing health and wellbeing as is evidenced by creation of the Roadmap for Hearing Health. We look forward to the release of this document in the coming weeks. As a stakeholder in the Roadmap process, I am confident that the mission of Better Hearing Australia (VIC) will align with the Government’s priorities.
- Royal Commissions in the Aged Care and Mental Health services
We applaud the Government’s commitment to these two areas via Royal Commissions. Both topics are relevant to hearing: Hearing loss is most common in older adults and hearing loss and tinnitus are linked with reduced mental health. Both inquires will help shape how service providers operate and improve quality standards for all our community. Read more about the Aged Care and Mental Health inquiries via the links.
- Tinnitus and Hearing Awareness Weeks
February 4-10 is Tinnitus Awareness Week, where we have aligned with the British Tinnitus Association to share the message about tinnitus and isolation and that support is available!
With Hearing Awareness Week set to take place in March, it’s a great time to highlight the importance of hearing in our overall wellbeing and encouraging us to think about how to look after our hearing.
In 2019, we will look forward to undertaking several fundraising activities and being valuable to our members. Follow along to see what is coming up!
I would like to thank those of you who have been in touch or made me feel welcomed into this new role. I look forward to updating you again with our next newsletter in March, and in the meantime, it would be my pleasure to make connections with you to talk Better Hearing Australia (VIC).
Dr Caitlin Barr