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  • Veterans shouldn't suffer in silence

    Author: AAP

Uncle Harry Allie spent more than three decades in the Royal Australian Air Force but was left struggling to hear when someone spoke - lip reading and straining his ear to follow conversations.

And driving his wife to distraction with the TV volume turned up too loud.

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Years of exposure to loud noise during military training and service had done irreparable damage to his hearing but it was a deteriorating situation he tolerated for years.

Finally, it got so bad he sought help.

"From the day my hearing aids were fitted, I immediately noticed I no longer had to turn my ear in the right direction or read someone's lips to have a conversation," said Uncle Harry, 79, a proud Gudjala man who was appointed the first Air Force Indigenous Elder in 2012.

"I didn't have to wait for someone to tap me on the shoulder to tell me they were talking to me.

"There are things you take for granted, particularly in country areas, like the sounds of birds and trees. Being able to hear those things and having that connection to nature is important for me."

Uncle Harry is one of about 72,000 Australians receiving help from Hearing Australia through the Community Service Obligations program.

Hearing Australia was established in 1947 to provide services for returning World War II veterans who might suffer more complex hearing issues than the general population due to the nature of their work.

As Anzac Day approaches, Hearing Australia is calling on veterans to seek help and get their hearing tested - not just accept hearing loss that can often be prevented or treated.

Recent statistics show one in four Australians over 50 don't recall ever having a hearing test.

"Good hearing can play a significant role in helping people stay active, happy and involved in the world around them, so regular hearing checks are advised and should be part of everyone's regular health checks - especially for veterans," said Karen Hirschausen, Principal Audiologist at Hearing Australia.

"The key to better hearing health is to not delay getting help."


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