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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin

Widespread ear health issues among Aboriginal children

Date posted: 4 May 2012

The CEO of the Telethon Speech and Hearing Centre (TSH), Paul Higginbotham, says the high rates of middle ear disease in Aboriginal children have reached crisis point.

Research data from the TSH Mobile ear clinic program shows over 50 per cent of Aboriginal children 12 years and younger tested in Perth cannot pass a simple hearing test.

The result for the same test conducted in Roebourne is 80 per cent.

Mr Higginbotham says poor living conditions, genetics, passive smoking and bad nutrition all contribute to the problem.

'Better access to ear health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and adults is urgent and must be addressed.'

'You cannot solve the problems of disadvantage in Aboriginal Australia without tackling this issue of ear health,' Mr Higginbotham said.

'It cannot be solved in a bandaid way; we as a state can solve the problem but we need a strategic, holistic approach to it.'

'We need to expect and demand change within a generation; we can do it.'

Speaking at the Australian Otitis Media Conference (OMOZ) in Perth yesterday, Paul Higginbotham and Lara Shur presented data from the TSH screening, surveillance and treatment program.

The successes to date of the program were attributed to collaboration with communities and persistence.

Source: ABC news and Australian Otitis Media Conference (OMOZ)


Telethon Speech & Hearing Centre for Children
36 Dodd Street
Wembley WA 6014
PO Box 186
Wembley WA 6913
Ph: (08) 9387 9888
Fax: (08) 9387 9889


Last updated: 7 May 2012
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