Perth has hosted the head of Lions International for the first time in four decades, with US-based Bob Corlew in town this month to see first-hand the impact of the Lions Foundation of Western Australia’s affiliated charity and research initiatives.
Lions Hearing Clinics are operated by the not for profit Ear Science Institute, and Sandra Bellekom, who is chief executive of both organisations, said despite having the option to visit anywhere in Australia, Mr Corlew chose Perth.
“Mr Corlew couldn’t believe how strong hearing services were for Lions here because traditionally Lions has been very focused around saving sight and less toward hearing,” she said.
The Lions Hearing Aid Bank of WA, a joint initiative of the Ear Science Institute and the state’s Lions Foundation, has provided hundreds of hearing aids to people in need since its inception five years ago.
“When patients upgrade their devices they hand them into our clinicians or drop them off at one of our 12 clinics where our audiologists clean and restore them,” Ms Bellekom said.
“Hearing aids have gone to Kenya, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Cambodia … to places where people with hearing loss wouldn’t be able to access that kind of technology.”
Closer to home, Ms Bellekom said other successful initiatives included a Gift of Hearing Appeal, Cheers for Ears hearing education program as well as a Lions bus that provided free hearing screening across the state.
One of the institute’s researchers, Chris Brennan-Jones, was awarded the premier’s ExxonMobil student scientist of the year award last month for his work focused on improving access to ear health assessments in WA’s remote and regional areas.
Funded by the institute’s Gift of Hearing Appeal, his research explored the capabilities of automated hearing tests to provide key data on a person’s hearing health, where statistics were then sent via email to an audiologist to examine and recommend treatments, eliminating the need for patients or specialists to travel.
“It’s important while we barrel down the pathway of research that we’re able to provide therapies, devices and treatments that will actually get to the patient,” Ms Bellekom told Business News.
She said the World Health Organisation had indicated that 50 per cent of 12-25 year olds in middle to high-income countries would likely encounter a noise reduced hearing loss from using personal devices.
“Hearing loss is going to become an epidemic if we don’t teach people how to protect good hearing,” she said.
“It’s not until people start to lose their hearing that they realise how critical it is for their happiness.”
In other news...
Perth club putts for worthy cause
Perth Nomads Golf Club will tee up with Volunteer Task Force for a fourth year with its annual Charity Golf Day Tournament.
In just over 10 years, golf clubs across Australia have raised a total of $575,000 for local charities.
The Perth Nomads has supported Volunteer Task Force since 2013 and funds donated have assisted with the purchase of two vehicles for the not for profit’s Water Wise project, which remodels gardens using sustainability principles.
Earlier this year, the charity launched a new gutter cleaning service using a machine called SkyVac.
All proceeds from the 2016 event will go towards the purchase of an additional SkyVac machine and trailer.
Volunteer Task Force has provided services to the Western Australia community for 45 years and chief executive Kath Snell said the new service was identified as an essential amenity for its support of the elderly and people with a disability.
“We have been inundated with bookings and the additional machine will enable us to deliver this service quicker to those in need throughout the Perth Metro area,” she said.
The tournament will take place on October 23 at Secret Harbour Golf Club, where teams can register at $100 per player.
Big Bethanie bake-off returns
Western Australia aged care and retirement living provider Bethanie is taking entries for its annual bake-off event, which aims to close the intergenerational gap between seniors and young people.
Following the success of the past two years’ bake-offs, the not for profit hopes the event will continue to attract entries from across the state.
School children and Bethanie residents are encouraged to submit a family recipe, which will be judged on creativity, nutritional value, recipe complexity, as well as the story behind it.
This year’s prizes include a Maggie Beer pack and signed cookbook, a $400 dinner voucher that can be used at a number of restaurants, including Indiana Cottesloe, and a high coffee experience at the Adelphi Grill (Parmelia Hilton).
Entries close October 7 and chosen finalists will comprise of four Bethanie residents and four school students, who will compete at a grand final bake-off that will take place on November 9 at Burswood Park to correspond with Have a Go Day.
Bethanie is the third largest aged care provider in the state in relation to number of beds, according to the BNiQ Search Engine.