HWS BANNER
Print

Ear health

Info

Ear and Hearing health has a wide-range of impacts on development, behaviour, mental health, wellbeing, and sense of connectedness. Social distancing and isolation can exacerbate these determinants.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and current stage 3 restrictions in Victoria, many Face to Face consultations by outreach visiting services from Audiologists, Speech Pathologists and ENT Specialists may not be able to be delivered at ACCO’s.   

Many non-urgent consultations have been postponed or are being delivered by Telehealth/Phone consultation. Non-urgent surgeries are also being postponed.

Government restrictions may also impact on services providers hours of operation.

VACCHO, Hearing Australia (Vic) and RWAV have created a partnership to ensure that urgent hearing care needs can still be catered for during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This page is your guide to ensure urgent cases have access to Ear and Hearing health care during this period. Where possible, we encourage you to continue to utilise your current Ear Health Pathways with your current service providers. This will ensure best continuity of care for the patients.

What is considered urgent hearing care?

A hearing issue that is impacting on a person’s ability to communicate. This includes

  • Feeling distressed or anxious about your hearing
  • Sudden change in hearing 
  • Discharging ears
  • Babies who obtained a refer result or have not received their newborn hearing screen
  • Parental concern about their child’s hearing
  • Children learning remotely with emerging hearing and device challenges
  • Have already ordered hearing aids and due for a fitting appointment
  • Require new hearing aids to support positive physical and mental well being
  • Existing hearing aid, cochlear implant user requiring hearing aid repair, lost aids, ear moulds and batteries
  • Cochlear implant users with pain, vertigo & other issues effecting ability to communicate
  • Essential worker experiencing hearing issues

How our hearing service providers are here to support you

Rural Workforce Agency Victoria

RWAV’s highest priority is to ensure the continuity of services to the communities. They are currently offering all service providers the chance to change their services to Telehealth if possible. They understand that Telehealth is not always an option, especially in Ear and Hearing Health. Many of their Service Providers may still be able to offer their services to clients outside of the ACCOs at their own clinic.

Due to funding limitations and restrictions placed on surgeries, we are not accepting new applications for the Ear and Eye Surgical Support Scheme (EESSS) at this time. We will be reopening applications in the new financial year. For urgent cases, we recommend you follow your usual pathway in the region.

Hearing Australia 

During this social distancing time Hearing Australia is not visiting Communities, but they are still able to provide support to client and families and to the services they work with. Hearing Australia are offering telehealth consultations and face-to-face appointments at their hearing centres when necessary.

  • New referrals for hearing aid fittings will be seen as a matter of priority.
  • Where ENT surgery is delayed we welcome referrals for children with long standing hearing loss ( > 3months) to assess what assistance may be needed as an interim measure.
  • Due social distancing rules and reducing close contact time, part of each appointment can be conducted by phone prior to visiting the hearing centre.
  • Where available we will be working with Aboriginal Health Workers to provide services within community. If Health workers would like to talk over results they have obtained or concerns they have about anyone, they are welcome to contact their Hearing Australia audiologist.
  • Hearing aids requiring repairs can be posted to your local Hearing Australia office (call 131 797 for your nearest centre).  Repairs, batteries and replacement of lost aids can be posted back to the client or clinic. Experienced hearing aid users who are getting new aids, may have these aids posted to them and we will follow up with a phone or video call.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults who are 50 or over, and who are experiencing difficulties hearing can contact Hearing Australia on 131 797 for an assessment.
  • Essential workers experiencing hearing difficulty who do not usually qualify for government funded hearing assessment can contact Hearing Australia for a free assessment during COVID 19.

Hearing Assessment Program - Early Ears (HAP-EE)

For ACCO’s who access The Hearing Assessment Program – Early Ears (0-5yrs old)

The circumstances surrounding the current pandemic of the COVID-19 has caused the program to pause its active clinics across the State at this present time. Unfortunately, due to many of the HAP-EE services being conducted on site at ACCOs, tbey have been cancelled to ensure the safety and welfare of staff and clients. However, we can continue to service clinics off site i.e. separate building, early learning centre. 

The Program are looking to deliver this via telehealth in conjunction with local health workers. We will update you as we find out more.

Cochlear Implant Support

Cochlear implant services have also been impacted by COVID-19. Services are available via Telehealth/Phone consultations where possible. Face to Face care is delivered as required for urgent medical and devices issues.

Contact the Cochlear Care Centre for implant device issues; repairs, tuning & maintenance. Our East Melbourne Cochlear Care Clinic is open for face to face visits as required. Dandenong and Geelong clinics are currently closed.

Cochlear implant users who are experiencing pain, vertigo & other medical issues effecting ability to communicate please contact the Cochlear implant clinic at RVEEH.