Council says “Hear Here” to better service for older residents

Redland City Council has partnered with Better Hearing Australia (Brisbane) to develop a training program to help local government communicate more effectively with people with hearing loss and older residents.

Mayor Karen Williams said the “Hear Here” e-learning training package would improve seniors’ experience when accessing Council services and venues.

“When Council undertook its Age Friendly City survey in 2018, we found that hearing loss was a significant barrier for older people to participate in our community,” Cr Williams said.

“That was clearly unacceptable, so we set out to fix it by ensuring our frontline service officers were provided with the training and tools they needed to better communicate and help people experiencing hearing loss.

“We know Redlands Coast is an ageing community and Council is committed to doing all we can to ensure they can access the services and initiatives that make our city such a great place to live.”

Cr Williams said the revolutionary training package had recently been successfully trialled in Council’s customer service centre.

“The design and roll out of this training package has been made possible through an exciting partnership with Better Hearing Australia (Brisbane) to develop a specialised training package that will now become part of our corporate training, meaning it will become part of our everyday service to the community,” Cr Williams said.

“It is part of our commitment to becoming a better age-friendly city, where older people and others with hearing loss can be confident that they can engage with Council services effectively. We do not want any resident to feel isolated.

“The training will also be made available to other local governments through the Council on the Ageing Queensland, showing once again that the Redlands Coast is leading the way in creating a more accessible community.”

Better Hearing Australia (Brisbane) business manager Tony Whelan said his organisation was proud to partner with Redland City Council to deliver the Hear Here training program.

“It’s a learning environment that gives participants an understanding of some of the challenges faced by people with hearing loss, practical strategies to overcome those challenges and tools and resources to assist them in their workplace,” he said.

“We believe it sets a real benchmark in hearing loss awareness training.

“Now, in partnership with COTA, we’re encouraging other government authorities in Queensland to implement the Hear Here training module as well.”