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Finished | Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities, Paediatric hearing loss

Embedding PLUM & HATS in hearing healthcare of First Nations children

The project goals achieved;
• Determine enablers and barriers to adoption of the PLUM and HATS tools by stakeholders;
• Co-design and implement strategies for training and engagement, in consultation with the National Aboriginal Controlled Health Council (NACCHO), state/territory Affiliates, primary care services, early childhood services and other relevant stakeholders; and
• Provide training to primary healthcare workers, clinicians and early education teachers.

Click here to visit the Plum & Hats website 

PLUM & HATS – Phase 3

Project Goals 
The overall goal of this project was to enhance the ability of early childhood educators and primary health workers to work with parents/carers to identify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children at risk of hearing loss, and communication difficulties related to otitis media (OM). The project focused on the usability and acceptability of the PLUM (Parent-evaluated Listening and Understanding Measure) and HATS (Hearing And Talking Scale) tools — two checklists previously co-developed to help early identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children at risk of listening and communication difficulties. We evaluated whether the tools are equally effective if they are used over telehealth practice compared to in-person, and whether the tools were acceptable for primary health workers and for parents/carers through consultation. Based on the feedback, we developed materials, provided training for primary health workforce and early childhood educators, and post-training support. An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Leadership Team provided oversight for the project. 

The PLUM and HATS tools are equally effective when administered via telehealth, over the phone or face-to-face. Both PLUM and HATS are highly accurate in identifying children with no listening and communication concerns. In the consultations with parents/carers and primary health stakeholders, they indicated a high level of acceptability. New training materials and resources for PLUM and HATS are now available freely on our PLUM and HATS Website. Primary health workers can access training through Ear Train TAFE NSW online training platform. Post training support is available through HAPEE. 

Ethical approvals 

We have received approval for this work from four Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research Ethics Committees as well as Hearing Australia’s ethics committee.  


Ching T, Harkus S, Hou S, Ward M, Saetre-Turner M & Marnane V. , 2020
Audiology Now 80

Screening tools to identify hearing and communication difficulties in young children for early intervention

Research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

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First Nations research portfolio
Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have ear and hearing trouble. This often occurs during the first few years of life – a critical period to learn. Find out NAL's initiatives with the communities.
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