Ear disease and hearing loss in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children can be hard to detect and difficult to treat, leaving many children with persistent or unidentified hearing problems. Coexisting risk factors, such as those associated with low socioeconomic status and beliefs about parental role in speech language development, combine with relatively ‘mild’ hearing loss to cause significant long term consequences.
Health and education staff can arrive in Aboriginal communities with little training and orientation to teaching or treating children with chronic ear and hearing problems. Because the long term consequences are not easy to intuit, audiologists often have to find a way to first ‘switch on the lightbulb’ to have the best chance at influencing change in practice.
Presenters Kristen Tregenza and Samantha Harkus will talk about grappling with this challenge.