Persistent middle ear infection or Otitis Media (OM) is a very common cause of hearing loss among young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. It can interfere with a child’s development, their quality of life, communication with family and friends, and school experiences.
Support for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with persistent OM-related hearing loss comes in different forms, including ensuring the child has quality communication opportunities, using ‘hearing-friendly’ ways of communicating, and fitting hearing devices. However, not much is known about how much these and other supports help. This is an area that researchers at the National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL) are seeking to explore in a future long-term study, in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and stakeholders. The Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care has provided funding to enable preparation or ‘groundwork’ for this future study.
NAL has been researching how best to support Australian children born with hearing loss for some time, through the Longitudinal Outcomes of Children with Hearing Impairment (LOCHI) study. In recent years, we have also worked with Aboriginal communities and services in a range of collaborative projects: follow ‘Research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities’ tag on the right of this page. These skills, knowledge, relationships, and experiences will be helpful for this ‘groundwork’ project.
In this project, we aim to prepare for the future long-term study, by:
The picture above represents how we are thinking about this project:
The project team will soon advertise for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers, look for communities interested to partner in this work, and begin to seek input from organisations, groups, and individuals.
If you would like to find out more, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The project team includes Isabel O’Keeffe (Linguist), Carmen Kung (Psycholinguist), Vivienne Marnane (Speech Pathologist and Epidemiologist), Meagan Ward and Sam Harkus (Audiologists).
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