Program Aims:
 

The Hearing for Learning Initiative July 2018 – June 2023 is a $7.9m community-based service enhancement program. It aims to integrate locally-based ear health project officers into existing services to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with ear and hearing problems. 

Over a four-year period, the program will work with 20 communities, employ 40 part time ear and hearing clinical and education support officers, and screen 5,000 children aged 0-16 years. The goal is to work with communities to establish reliable, sustainable, culturally appropriate services that ensure every ear of every child is healthy and hearing every day.

The Initiative will operate as a Phase III stepped-wedge cluster randomised trial. This means it will assess the effect of a novel innovation (enhanced ear health services) and whether this improves children’s health and education outcomes. The innovation will roll out in ‘clusters’ of communities, selected randomly from a pool of 20. Random allocation makes it fair and removes the bias of factors that are not well-understood, but which may influence outcomes.

Hearing loss is not just about “ears”. Ear disease affects speech and language development, many of life’s enjoyments, and access to culture, education, and employment. Children with ear problems cannot hear properly – they have trouble listening and talking, and may behave badly because they misunderstand their parents, teachers, and friends. If left untreated ear disease can have a significant impact on a child’s development and entire life trajectory.

Program Goals:

Work with up to 20 remote, rural or urban communities to establish reliable, sustainable, culturally appropriate services that ensures that every ear of every child is healthy and hearing every day.

  • employment -  40 Ear and Hearing Clinical and Education Support Officers 
  • certificate II training in ear and hearing clinical and education skills 
  • mentoring and integration of support officers
  • deliver education programs to help identify children with hearing problems
  • 5,000 children aged 0 -16 years to receive ear and hearing assessments during the four year program
Joint Chairs:
Investigators:
Program Manager 
Program Dates
  • July 2018 - June 2023

                    

  1. COAG Health Council | Communiqué 8 March 2019

    COAG Health Council | Communiqué 8 March 2019

    Date

    The Federal, state and territory Health Ministers met in Adelaide at the COAG Health Council to discuss a range of national health issues.

  2. Menzies researchersí finalists in the 2019 Telstra Business Womenís Awards

    Menzies researchersí finalists in the 2019 Telstra Business Womenís Awards

    Date

    Two researchers from Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) have been named finalists in the 2019 Telstra Business Womenís Awards.

  3. NT News | Our children's hearing crisis

    NT News | Our children's hearing crisis

    Date

    To address chronic hearing problems in the NT's most vulnerable children a $7.9 million community-led program will be rolled out.

  4. New program to tackle ear infection crisis

    New program to tackle ear infection crisis

    Date

    The five-year Hearing for Learning program is based on research by scientists at the Menzies School of Health Research and will employ and train community residents to help spot and treat ear disease and hearing problems.

  5. The Australian | Silence is golden but not when itís permanent

    The Australian | Silence is golden but not when itís permanent

    Date

    Meanwhile, in the Northern Territory, dozens of project officers in 20 communities will complement the work of visiting ear specialists under a $7.9m partnership between the commonwealth, the Northern Territory government and the Balnaves Foundation, supported by the Menzies School of Health Research.

  6. Lend me your ear: New program targets hearing problems in NT children

    Lend me your ear: New program targets hearing problems in NT children

    Date

    RACGP report on the Hearing for Learning Initiative.

  7. Hearing loss a serious issue

    Hearing loss a serious issue

    Date

    Announced in August, Hearing for Learning is a five year program of the NT Government, founded on research by scientists at the Darwin-based Menzies School of Health Research.

  8. Daily Mail | How 90 PER CENT of Aboriginal children are born with ear disease and most will end up half-deaf with brain development problems

    Daily Mail | How 90 PER CENT of Aboriginal children are born with ear disease and most will end up half-deaf with brain development problems

    Date

    A shocking 90 per cent of Aboriginal children in remote Northern Territory communities under three years old are born with an ear disease that can lead to significant development problems.

  9. ABC | 'Glue ear' project to fight hearing loss and improve outcomes for Aboriginal children

    ABC | 'Glue ear' project to fight hearing loss and improve outcomes for Aboriginal children

    Date

    Up to nine in every 10 Aboriginal children in some remote Northern Territory communities have a hearing impairment, but a new project aims to tackle that by training locals and reducing fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) specialists.

  10. Ear Health Funding

    Ear Health Funding

    Date

    Coverage of the Hearing for Learning Initiative Launch with the Northern Territory Government and the Balnaves Foundation on ABC TV News.

  11. Investing in Territory Kids and Generational Change Ė Hearing for Learning

    Investing in Territory Kids and Generational Change Ė Hearing for Learning

    Date

    A public private partnership between the Northern Territory Government, Australian Government and the Balnaves Foundation is addressing chronic hearing problems in Territory children.

  12. NT News 14 August 2018 OMOZ 2018 coverage and editorial

    NT News 14 August 2018 OMOZ 2018 coverage and editorial

    Date

    5th Australian Otitis media Conference underway in Darwin.