The Help BC Hear Better Group is a passionate team of healthcare professionals, researchers, and people with hearing loss who want improved access to
hearing health care in British Columbia.
Our group formed in April 2022, and has raised awareness on the importance of hearing health care to MLAs and government officials, special interest groups, and other interested stakeholders. Our group has developed a briefing note advocating for the creation of a formal provincial Hearing Health Program that includes the funding of hearing aids, particularly for vulnerable populations: children and seniors. With the assistance of Speech and Hearing BC, we plan to present this proposal to the BC Ministry of Health for their review.
A large and growing proportion of British Columbians have hearing loss. Over three-quarters of seniors have hearing loss in both ears. Hearing loss can also lead to delayed speech and language development in children, and have an impact on social development. Left untreated, hearing loss can also adversely impact the health and quality of life of our population, especially seniors. Research has shown a link between hearing loss and cognitive decline. Treatment with hearing aids and counselling may help to mitigate this risk for those at greater risk for cognitive decline. Hearing loss also contributes to social isolation among seniors, which contributes to poorer health. A significant factor contributing to lack of hearing aid usage is the high cost of hearing aids. British Columbia lags behind other provinces and territories when it comes to consistent hearing health coverage.
We believe that a provincial Hearing Health Program is a strategic investment in health, as untreated hearing loss can lead to increased health care costs. A Hearing Health Program will keep the people of BC safer, healthier and more connected with their communities, and
Help BC Hear Better.
We have developed a petition asking the BC Legislative Assembly to invest in a Hearing Health Program for British Columbia. By signing our petition, your support will advance our efforts to bring this matter to the attention of the BC Minister of Health.
Please also see our resources page for a template to write a letter of support to your local government official
Help BC Hear Better Group
Co-Chair and Primary Contact: Dr. Brian Westerberg, Head, Division Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, UBC.
Co-Chair: Grace Shyng, Audiologist, Clinical Assistant Professor, UBC School of Audiology and Speech Sciences
Dr. Lorienne Jenstad, Audiologist, Associate Professor - UBC School of Audiology and Speech Sciences
Danielle Lafleur, Audiologist, Ph.D Student - UBC School of Audiology and Speech Sciences
Dr. Jane Lea, Otolaryngologist, Director - BC Rotary Hearing and Balance Centre at St. Paul’s Hospital
Yinda Liu, Audiologist - Audiology Advisor - Speech-Language & Audiology Canada
Heather Ritchie, Audiologist - Audiology Private Practice Director - Speech and Hearing BC
Elissa Robb, Audiologist, Member - Canadian Hard of Hearing Association BC
Janine Sigurdson, Audiologist - Audiology Public Practice Director - Speech and Hearing BC
Craig Stevenson, Research Assistant, UBC School of Audiology and Speech Sciences
Reach Out/ Mailing List
To learn more about untreated hearing loss and associated health outcomes, click here.