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Closing the gap: Roadmap for Hearing Health

Date posted: 04th of September 2019

The recently published Roadmap for Hearing Health makes closing the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ear and hearing health a national priority – we all need to SHOUT about it!

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have some of the highest rates of ear disease in the world. On average, one in three Aboriginal children experience chronic ear disease. Aboriginal children are three times more likely to suffer permanent hearing loss compared to non-Indigenous children. Each year, three to five children die from middle ear disease complications – these deaths are more likely to occur among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

The high rates of ear disease and hearing loss among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children result in deep structural disadvantage with profound lifetime consequences. Aboriginal children are more likely to experience delays in speech development which impacts their ability to socialise, learn and to keep themselves safe. Aboriginal children who experience educational disadvantage, due to hearing loss, have limited work choices and may experience unemployment or underemployment as an adult. The absence of paid, meaningful work may lead to social problems such as substance abuse and encountering the criminal justice system.

The driving force behind these health inequities? Otitis media – a preventable and treatable childhood disease.

The Roadmap for Hearing Health, led by Minister Wyatt, with involvement from the Hearing Health Sector Committee including Professor Kelvin Kong and Samantha Harkus sets future directions and priorities for the hearing sector. Central to the plan is addressing the crisis in hearing health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children including, early detection, prevention and treatment of otitis media.

You can learn more by downloading The Roadmap for Hearing Health and SHOUTING all about it on Facebook and Twitter.

For researchers

Otitis Media (OM), sometimes known as glue ear or runny ears…

For health practitioners

Otitis Media (OM), sometimes known as glue ear or runny ears…

For families and communities

Many Indigenous children, and almost all Indigenous children living in remote communities...