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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin

Now hear trial project



This school-based intervention project tried to reverse or remediate the consequences of ear disease and hearing loss among Indigenous students at six schools in the Northern Territory. The project also tried to demonstrate the link between otitis media with effusion, conductive hearing loss, and levels of English literacy. The school-based intervention included:

Students' literacy and phonological awareness levels were tested at the beginning and end of the project to measure impact. Assessments were separated by approximately eight months. 

The Indigenous students in this project had a very high prevalence of ear disease and persistent hearing disability compared to non-Indigenous children. Hearing support services at school were concluded to be especially important for Indigenous students learning English as a foreign language. High-attending Indigenous students were found to be those who:

Teachers generally did not feel well prepared to integrate a systematic phonics program into the curriculum. 

This intervention was funded by the Australian Government as a Strategic Results Project under the Indigenous Education Strategic Initiatives Programme.


Al Yonovitz
Former project leader
Now Hear trial project

Evaluated publications

McRae D, Ainsworth G, Cumming J, Hughes P, Mackay T, Price K, Rowland M, Warhurst J, Woods D, Zbar V (2000)

What works: explorations in improving outcomes for Indigenous students.

Canberra: Australian Curriculum Studies Association and National Curriculum Services


Last updated: 8 July 2015
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