Extract from an article on Talking Aged Care
Hearing dogs have improved the quality of life for seniors who are deaf or hard of hearing, minimising the impediments that often accompany those living with hearing impairments. However, planned cuts to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) may result in limited access for those who require a hearing dog.
As of current, 1 in 6 Australians are affected by hearing loss, with approximately 30,000 people with complete hearing loss.
“Hearing loss is an invisible disability. People aren’t aware of sounds that we often take for granted,” says Chief Executive Officer of Lions Hearing Dogs David Horne.
The dogs are specially trained to assist the deaf by alerting and directing their carer to a number sounds that the carer may be unable to hear. These can range from common household noises to, in more extreme cases, fire alarms.
The dogs also provide emotional benefits – hearing dogs can give carers feelings of independence, comfort and security. The responsibility that is required to care for the dog is also accompanied with an additional sense of companionship.
“People who suffer from hearing loss suffer and are isolated. Hearing dogs can encourage community participation and help clients regain socialisation and improve independence.”
As a former trainer, Mr Horne has also witnessed first hand the effects hearing dogs have made on clients. He states that prior to receiving the dogs, clients were often “scared and could not face the outside world”.
But after receiving a hearing dog, the changes to a client’s quality of life were immeasurable..(continues)
SOURCE: “Assistance dogs for hearing impaired seniors at risk”, Aged Care Guide, 11 Oct 2017
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia