I am delighted to advise that we have received two grants, one from the Oticon Foundation New Zealand for $110,000 and the other from the Perpetual Guardian Trust for $20,000, the combination of which means we are now in position to commence the ground breaking “Listen Hear NZ!” research project.

Though extremely grateful for both grants we wish, in particular, to recognise and thank the Oticon Foundation for stepping up and ensuring this essential research is able to be done. By doing so, they are supporting what will be a giant leap forward in developing the evidence base required to fully understand the impact of hearing loss in New Zealand.

As you may recall, the objective of this research is to provide, in a single report, a full understanding of the prevalence of deafness, the economic impact of hearing loss and an understanding of the needs of New Zealanders who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. By recognising these needs, the goal of establishing appropriate, evidence based services and programmes can then be realised.

The project will draw on experience of a similar analysis undertaken in Australia and published in 2006 (Listen Hear! The economic impact and cost of hearing loss in Australia and which has been very influential in advocacy for services and rights of people with hearing loss. Whilst data is available internationally, this study will focus on the needs of New Zealanders, in New Zealand thus providing very relevant and pertinent information to this country. When completed this data will be publicly available and can be used by all groups concerned with deafness.

We look forward to working with you all as we go forward on this extremely important project and we will be in contact with the Technology Working Group and the Project Reference Group some stage soon to look at the research plan. This is a major milestone in the Foundation’s advocacy programme. Exciting times ahead! Please distribute this information to your networks, thanks.

Professor Peter Thorne
The National Foundation for the Deaf