Hearing help to deliver children a brighter future

The Australian Government is taking action to ensure the early detection and treatment of hearing loss in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in South-East Queensland.

Page last updated: 12 June 2018

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12 June 2018

The Turnbull Government is taking action to ensure the early detection and treatment of hearing loss in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in South-East Queensland.

The Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, said children needed to grow up with good hearing so they could reach their full potential and be able to embrace all of the opportunities that come their way.

“Hearing loss at a young age can have lifelong consequences in education, employment and overall wellbeing so early detection and treatment is essential to minimise its impact,” Minister Wyatt said.

“Infants and children are like little sponges—their young lives are about soaking up information and developing language and social skills daily, which is why good ear health is critical.

Minister Wyatt joined Member for Bonner, Ross Vasta, at the local Yulu-Burri-Ba clinic in Wynnum to meet local families.

“The Australian Government will provide the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health with more than $27,000 for the purchase of audiology equipment to conduct diagnostic audiology tests in local clinics including Yulu-Burri-Ba,” Minister Wyatt said.

“The results of these tests will trigger appropriate and swift follow up measures where necessary, to address any potential hearing loss.

“Work like this is critical because the overall rate of hearing loss in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is among the highest in the world, up to 10 times more than among the broader Australian population of children.”

Mr Vasta said the new equipment would help ensure local children had the best start in life.

“In the hands of trained health professionals like those at Yulu-Burri-Ba, this funding will make a significant difference to children and their families accessing timely hearing assessments,” said Mr Vasta.

“I commend the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health for its key role in the planning, development and delivery of comprehensive healthcare services to First Nations people in South-East Queensland.”

The Turnbull Government is making a significant investment of more than $79 million (2018–19 to 2021–22) for a range of activities to improve the ear and hearing health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the nation.

This includes $30 million announced in the 2018–19 Budget for a new outreach program to provide an annual hearing assessment and referral for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–6 years.

The Government is also increasing access to clinical services, including surgery, providing equipment, training health professionals and raising awareness of otitis media symptoms and the need for regular surveillance and early treatment.

Media contacts:
Minister Wyatt – Nick Way 0419 835 449
Ross Vasta MP – Yvonne Tran 3893 3488


Authorised by Ken Wyatt AM, MP, Member for Hasluck.

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