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A state parliamentary committee says hearing loss in Aboriginal children is as bad as in third world countries.
The Education and Health Standing Committee report was presented by Dr Janet Woollard on 21 June 2012 and is based on a research tour of the Kimberley and Pilbara in Western Australia in March.
‘We were told that in one community over 94 per cent of the children in grades one, two and three had some form of hearing loss, said Dr Woollard.
The committee recommended that funding be made available to identify and treat middle ear infections prior to a child developing hearing loss.
Chief executive of the Telethon Speech and Hearing Centre, Paul Higginbotham, said ongoing infections can affect a child's development even if they don't cause hearing loss.
‘It's not just an issue in remote communities. We've had a situation in the metropolitan area where 75 per cent of the Aboriginal kids in a school couldn't pass a hearing test.'