Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s hearing health

An increasing number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s lives have been improved by getting hearing help at an earlier age. But according to Australian Hearing, there is more work to be done to reduce the significantly higher rates of hearing problems Indigenous Australians face compared to other Australians.
Australian Hearing tracked Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s hearing aid fitting data for the past 10 years. According to its research one in four Aboriginal children now receive their hearing aids before the age of five, a significant improvement from 2008 when only one in ten received them before the age of five.
Acting Managing Director of Australian Hearing Kim Terrell said “The first three years is so important for learning language and learning to listen. Language connects the next generation to their family, communities and cultural stories, and sets children up for success, giving them the opportunity to reach their full potential.”
In 2017 18 Australian Hearing provided help to more than 10,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults and children. This was achieved through mainstream and outreach programs in more than 230 urban, regional and remote communities across Australia.
The organisation has also launched a six-month trial of a tele-outreach service that provides a follow-up appointment with hearing impaired children in remote locations via video-chat after they are fitted with their first hearing aid.