Homelessness and hearing loss

This Thursday, I’m “sleeping out”.

CEO’s from all over Australia are experiencing for one night what it might be like to be homeless.  The organisers are aiming to make it as authentic as possible.  However, we all know that the next day we will be back in our suits, probably showered, and back at work. Even if we’re cold, stiff and tired.

The event has me thinking; has our society and health system failed people who are homeless?  Look at the people by the station, under our bridges, on our pavements, in the parks. What can we do?

In 2007, Patricia A. Saccone and James R. Steiger published an article about hearing loss and homelessness.  It’s a tricky area to research as so many homeless people fall outside even socialised healthcare systems. The researchers studied residents of a hostel for homeless people. Estimates vary that from 1 in 5 to 1 in 10 homeless people have significant hearing difficulties. This is not all that different to the main population, but the consequences could be much worse.

There is little or no, access to hearing aids, and the downstream problems of underemployment, depression and other mental health conditions must be compounded.

So, I am sleeping rougher than I’m used to for a night to raise funds and awareness of homelessness, and of the particular plight of homeless people with hearing loss.

If you’re so compelled, feel free to sponsor me at www.ceosleepout.org.au

And if you or someone you know finds themselves below the poverty line and in need of hearing aids, please contact us about Recycled Sound, an initiative that helps those in need access refurbished hearing aids for free. It’s a Rotary project, led by the Rotary Club of Toorak, supported by the Rotary Club of Melbourne. Blamey Saunders hears and Better Hearing.  Or, if you’re in the position, your unused hearing aids would go to great use.

You can learn more about Recycled Sound here: http://www.recycledsound.org.au/

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