The estimated 163,000 Western Australians with some form of hearing difficulty will benefit from a special State Government initiative.
Disability Services Minister Eric Ripper said today that State Cabinet had approved the use of captions on all Government-funded television advertising, public information films and videos.
Mr Ripper made the announcement today during the launch of Deafness Awareness Week 1992.
All Government television advertising would include closed captions - or 'supertext' - accessible by people with impaired hearing through specific adaptations to individual television sets. Open captions - or subtitles - would be used on all Government-produced videos and films.
"The State Government, through the Bureau for Disability Services, is committed to promoting better communication access for people who are deaf and have hearing-impairments, using Government services," the Minister said.
"The Cabinet decision extends the policy already in place in the Health Department to the whole of Government. The Health Department is to be commended in taking the lead with this initiative."
The Bureau was also working to have Telecom install hearing-aid points and volume controls on all new public telephones, and encouraging the future use of dedicated telephone typewriter (TTY) lines and TTY machines within Government offices.
The National Acoustics Laboratory estimated that one in every ten Australians had hearing difficulties.
About half those with hearing difficulties - representing some 82,000 Western Australians - could benefit by using a hearing aid.
The Minister said the National Acoustics Laboratory believed the number of people with hearing problems was growing and there needed to be greater public awareness of the threat to hearing from loud music and industrial work environments.
"Prevention of hearing loss in these situations is far more preferable than trying to remedy the damage later," he said.
The State Government's $180 million Social Advantage package provided an extra $1.2 million to boost school and health centre based speech pathologists, physio and occupational therapists. The extra speech pathologists would benefit children with hearing difficulties across the State.
The Minister urged private enterprise to follow the Government's lead in considering the needs of people with hearing disabilities.