HEAR HAPPY: Integration of early hearing & communication assessment tools in early childhood and health services through parent engagement for early detection of hearing & communication problems

Project Goals:

The goal of this project was to develop education materials for training workers in health services and early education settings to use and interpret the PLUM and HATS screening tools appropriately.


The project used a co-design approach with primary health workers and early education officers, to help shape the support and training materials. Two co-design sessions were held, on the 27th February and the 29th May 2019 respectively. Each of these sessions was held across two primary sites in Sydney and Katherine, with teleconference linkage between the sites and to those in other locations, including Newcastle and Brisbane. Co-design participants came from a range of backgrounds including audiologists, early education officers and primary health workers. About two-thirds of the participants self-identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

The first co-design workshop contributed to the design of the material, and the second focused on soliciting feedback on a prototype of material so that they can be refined for dissemination.
A Hear Happy kit was created, including:
– HATS and PLUM screening test and score forms
– A picture support book to assist in administering the HATs and PLUM
– A user guide for the HATS and the PLUM
– A language activities booklet to provide to families on how to encourage and support listening and communication
– A suite of training videos that
  o Explain what the PLUM and HATS are
  o Show how the tools are used with families
  o Show how the tools are scored and suggested recommendations.
The Hear Happy website ( that hosts all the above materials for viewing and download has been created.


Hearing Australia, Western Sydney University


This study was supported by funding provided by the Prime Minister and Cabinet Grant.