Older Illawarra residents are being urged to get a free assessment when the Australian Hearing bus drops into Wollongong next month.
The free screenings are available to people over 60. The bus will be visiting Unanderra, Fairy Meadow and Port Kembla, starting on February 11.
Australian Hearing is a federal government agency that provides hearing services for children and young people up to the age of 26 and eligible adults.
Australian Hearing centre’s Wollongong and Shellharbour manager Vicki Christie said older residents who received a free hearing test would be given advice as to whether or not they had a problem.
‘‘If they do have a hearing problem we help fill them out various forms,’’ she said.
‘‘Pensioners, veterans and indigenous Australians over the age of 50 are entitled to a free hearing aid and full hearing assessment through a government scheme.’’
More than 70per cent of people over the age of 70 have a hearing loss.
‘‘The scary thing is that one in six Australians have a hearing problem and people often wait six to 10 years ago before they do something about it,’’ Ms Christie said.
There was a stigma about wearing hearing aids, and people often did not realise their hearing was deteriorating until it was mentioned by a family member.
Free hearing screenings are also available every day at hearing centres in Wollongong (Level 3, 43 Burelli Street) and Shellharbour (Stockland Shellharbour, next to Breast Screen). Hearing assessors also visit Corrimal Community Centre, Priceline Dapto, Warrawong Medical Centre, Albion Park Community Centre and Kiama Hospital, but people need to ring and book because staff are not there every day.
■ Hearing Bus dates and times: Feb 11, 9am-4pm, Wests Illawarra, Unanderra; Feb 12, 10am-4pm, Wollongong Surf Leisure Resort, Fairy Meadow; Feb 13, Surf Rider Caravan Park, Barrack Point; Feb 14, 10am-4pm, Port Kembla RSL, Military Road; Feb 15, 9am-4pm, Woolworths, Tannery Street, Unanderra.
Information: 42541200 or www.hearing.com.au