With hearing loss predicted to affect one in four Australians by 2050, Minister for Disability Services Curtis Pitt says Hearing Awareness Week (21-27 August) has been a great opportunity for Queenslanders to be reminded to protect their hearing.

Mr Pitt said it was also a chance to raise better awareness about what it’s like to live with a hearing impairment.

“Hearing Awareness Week gives the 22 per cent of Australians aged 15 years and older living with a hearing impairment the chance to share their experiences,” he said.

“By raising awareness and sharing personal stories we’ll be able to build a greater understanding within the community of what it’s like to lose all, or part of your hearing.”

Mr Pitt said the State Government is assisting deaf and hearing impaired Queenslanders by providing more than $2 million in funding to Deaf Services Queensland this financial year.

“This includes funding for interpreting and translation services to help link deaf Queenslanders to government and community services through Braille, Auslan and language interpreters,” he said.

“The outstanding contribution made by Auslan interpreters during the summer of natural disasters was not only an amazing showcase of the service, but also in raising awareness of the needs of Queensland’s deaf and hearing impaired community.

“They gave their time and expertise when Queenslanders needed them most – and without a doubt they saved lives.

“We also gave $50,000 in funding to Deaf Sports and Recreation Queensland Inc to help them deliver education and training, create participation opportunities and develop DVD resources to support deaf and hearing impaired people across the state.

“Breaking down barriers and creating awareness is essential in order to create a more inclusive community,” Mr Pitt said.

More information about Hearing Awareness Week can be found at www.hearingawarenessweek.org.au