World Hearing Day is on March 3 and this year the World Health Organization (WHO) has set the theme as: “Hearing care for ALL! Screen. Rehabilitate. Communicate.” One in six Australians experience hearing loss, according to healthdirect. But there’s still a lot to learn on hearing-loss prevention, and available resources for those with hearing impairments. This article looks at both prevention for people without hearing loss and communication tools for people who are deaf or have a hearing impairment.
Free online hearing tests for everyone
Hearing Australia runs a free online hearing assessment that takes about five minutes.
Before the test begins, they’ll ask for your name, age and email address. Then, they’ll run a two-question survey to gauge how concerned you are about your hearing.
For the test, you’ll need to listen to three numbers over a construction-like background noise and then type in your answer. They’ll repeat the task and on each rep the background noise goes up in volume while the sound of the numbers will go down.
Your results will be emailed to you. It includes a one-sentence summary, as well as a graph of a normal-hearing range based on age and where you sit on that graph.
Tips for using headphones safely
Ever feel like blocking out the world by cranking up your favourite song? Hearing Australia says, “Drowning out background noise leads to higher listening levels, which will increase your risk of long-term hearing damage.”
They advise choosing noise-cancelling headphones, or at least ones that fit properly, so you’re not blasting your music to compete with the sounds around you. Head in to a Vodafone store to find headphones or earbuds that are right for your needs.
WHO suggests using a noise dosimetry tool. This audio device sets a healthy amount of sound time and volume as your base sound allowance and then tracks how much you’re exposed to. You’ll be alerted if you go over the allowance.
Help making phone calls
If you have hearing loss and need to make a call, the government’s National Relay Service (NRS) can put you in contact with an NRS assistant, so you can text or live chat online while they’ll speak your message aloud to the person on the other end.
Tips for finding an accessible device
Vodafone is a founding supporter of AMTA’s (Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association) guide, Mobile Phone Industry Good Practice Guide: Accessibility for People with Disabilities. The guide suggests people with hearing loss use tech that:
Accessible Telecoms has a free search function so you can check the accessibility on a range of phones, tablets and computers.
Vodafone also supports the Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative (GARI), so you can use their database to find phones, tablets and apps to best suit you.
To find out more on how we support accessibility, go to our page, Supporting customers with accessibility needs.