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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places



Leach A (2016)

Bulging ear drums and hearing loss: Aboriginal kids have the highest otitis media rates in the world.

Retrieved 16 September 2016 from


Burns J, Burrow S, Drew N, Elwell M, Gray C, Harford-Mills M, Hoareau J, Lynch R, MacRae A, O’Hara T, Potter C, Ride K, Trzesinski A (2015)

Summary of Australian Indigenous health status, 2014.

Perth: Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet

The Summary of Australian Indigenous health, 2014 provides a plain language summary of the most recent indicators of the health of Indigenous people. It includes Indigenous-specific information on:

  • population
  • births
  • deaths
  • common health problems
  • health risk and protective factors.

The Summary has been prepared by the HealthInfoNet as part of its effort to help 'close the gap' by providing the evidence base to inform practice and policy in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. The Summary aims to make this information available to all people, including those without a specialised knowledge of the health field. The HealthInfoNet makes relevant high quality knowledge and information readily accessible to policy makers, health service providers, program managers, clinicians, researchers and the general community.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract


McDonald E (2013)

Evaluation of implementation of best practice models of care based on the updated recommendations for clinical care guidelines on the management of otitis media in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.

Darwin: Menzies School of Health Research

This report evaluates the Otitis media guidelines program, which aimed to enhance the capacity of general practitioners and other primary health care providers to provide high quality treatment for otitis media (OM) in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

The project was implemented from June 2012, for 12 months within eight sites, located in Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

The aims and objectives of the program were to:

  • increase awareness of the updated recommendations for clincial care guidelines on the management of otitis media in Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander populations
  • improve the uptake of best practice service delivery for the prevention, early detection and management of OM in Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander children
  • increase diagnosis and appropriate referral of OM in Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander children aged 0-4 years.

Key points identified by the evaluation include:

  • The needs identified by services to integrate guideline use into their practices varied and it was important that services had the opportunity to identify their own specific needs.
  • Flexibility in planning the implementation of programs at the local level was essential and that no one plan would be suitable for all.
  • Ongoing practical training in clinical detection and management of OM is needed across the agencies in order to meet the necessary demand and staff turnover issues.
  • The success in embedding the recommendations of the guidelines into practice in many services was often the result of leadership from practice management and the motivation, initiative and energy and other personal qualities of the practice nurses (or equivalent) employed by each of the service.
  • The collaborative care model is seen as flexible and best able to meet the needs of disadvantaged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with OM. This model promotes that health service providers from different professions and agencies provide comprehensive services by working with people, their families, care providers, and communities to deliver the highest quality of care.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Smith-Vaughan HC, Binks MJ, Marsh RL, Kaestli M, Ward L, Hare KM, Pizzutto SJ, Thornton RB, Morris PS, Leach AJ (2013)

Dominance of haemophilus influenzae in ear discharge from Indigenous Australian children with acute otitis media with tympanic membrane perforation.

BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders; 13: 12

Retrieved 8 October 2013 from


Aithal S, Aithal V, KeiJ, Driscoll C (2012)

Conductive hearing loss and middle ear pathology in young infants referred through a newborn universal hearing screening program in Australia.

Journal of the American Academy of Audiology; 23(9): 673-685

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012)

Northern Territory emergency response child health check initiative - follow-up services for oral and ear health: final report 2007-2012.

Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

This report is the final in a series of seven reports on the dental, audiology and ear, nose and throat (ENT) services funded by the Australian Government under the Northern Territory emergency response child health check initiative (NTER CHCI) and the Closing the gap in the Northern Territory national partnership agreement (CtG NT). Although open to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children under 16 years living in prescribed communities, these programs specifically targeted those who received referrals from their Child health check (CHC).

Based on the data collected, this report provides information on the extent of services provided, and the oral, ear and hearing health of children who received these services. The information in this report relates to dental and audiology services provided from August 2007 to 30 June 2012, and funded ENT consultations provided from August 2007 to December 2010 and ENT surgeries performed from 1 July 2009 to 31 December 2010.

The report was produced jointly by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Abstract adapted from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Hill S (2012)

Ear disease in Indigenous Australians: a literature review.

Australian Medical Student Journal; 3(1): 45-49

O'Neill G (2012)

Otitis media: silent epidemic.

Australian Life Scientist; 9(3): 42-44

Scott-Visser B (2012)

Why is ear and hearing health in the early years so vital?.

The Chronicle; 23(1): 20

Simmons K, Rotumah V, Cookson M, Grigg D (2012)

Child hearing health coordinators tackle ear and hearing health in the NT.

The Chronicle; 23(1): 22-23

Western Australian Education and Health Standing Committee (2012)

Report on key learnings from the committee research trip 11-17 March 2012.

Perth, WA: Parliament of Western Australia

Last updated: 21 February 2018
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