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Peter

Peter HALSEY

Year of Award: 2009 Award State: Australian Capital Territory Health And Medicine > Disabilities, Impairments And Injuries
To study technology and systems used to support the hearing impaired - Switzerland, UK
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Canberra’s Peter Halsey travelled to Switzerland and the United Kingdom in 2009 to study hearing support technology. Executive Officer for the ACT Deafness Resource Centre, a not-for-profit community organisation, Peter has profound hearing loss in one ear and moderate to severe in the other. The effervescent, articulate Peter provides an exemplar of the brilliant results that modern technology (plus resourcefulness and optimism) can bring to the hearing impaired.

One in six Australians are on the mild to severe scale of hearing impairment. Peter describes it in his report as ‘an invisible disability’ and emphasises the fact that a hearing impairment ‘is for life, does not go away; it cannot get better and it isolates the person from everyday life’. The overall aim of Peter’s project was to ease the daily burden of communication for the hearing impaired.

Peter drew a great deal from his trip, writing: "The privilege of travelling and representing the Churchill Trust enabled me to attend an international conference, facilitated networking with people from over 15 different countries and to travel extensively in the UK researching technology and support processes for the hearing impaired."

Peter praised the generosity of those he met in this field, writing about the richness of gaining new friends, new associates and new ideas.

He returned with detailed knowledge of the technology available to mitigate the situation of the hearing impaired, such as hearing loops. A hearing loop is an assistive device, which increases speech intelligibility, consisting of an induction amplifier that can be placed on the edges of a ceiling or under a shop counter.

Peter visited many relevant organisations abroad, for example, the British charity, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, where all dogs are provided free of charge for their new partners, and the Royal National Institute for the Deaf. Peter’s well-written report highlights the important points of his trip and specific improvements Australia could readily adopt for the benefit of the hearing impaired here. In order to improve the situation in Australia, Peter believes that we need an Intensive Rehabilitation Program for Adults with Acquired Profound Hearing Loss, hearing loops installed in public venues, and more widespread support for hearing impaired patients in hospitals.

Excerpt from “Inspiring Australians” written by Penny Hanley (2015)

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