Presents analyses on hearing health outreach services provided to Indigenous children and young people in the Northern Territory.
This report presents information on ear and hearing outreach services funded by the Department of Health and delivered by the Northern Territory Department of Health between July 2012 and June 2014. The main funding sources for these services are the National Partnership Agreement on Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory and the Healthy Ears—Better Hearing, Better Listening program. The report also includes information on hearing health and middle ear conditions among service recipients.
- In 2013–14, 2,122 outreach audiology services were delivered to 1,764 Indigenous children and young people. In total, from July 2012 to June 2014, 4,054 audiology services were delivered to 2,889 children and young people.
- Child Hearing Health Coordinators (CHHCs) conducted 697 visits to 675 children in 2013–14—slightly below the target of 700 children set by the Australian and Northern Territory governments. In total, 1,140 children were seen at 1,208 CHHC visits from July 2012 to June 2014.
- A total of 860 ear, nose and throat (ENT) teleotology services were provided to 766 children and young people in 2013–14. From July 2012 to June 2014, 1,684 ENT teleology services were provided to 1,283 children and young people.
Hearing health status among children and young people who received services
- Hearing loss was present in 55% of children and young people who received outreach audiology services at their latest service in 2013–14.
- Hearing health status improved for a large proportion of the children and young people who received 2 or more outreach audiology services. Of the 498 children and young people who had hearing loss at their first audiology service, 41% experienced functional improvements in their hearing (with 26% regaining normal hearing capability at their last check, and 15% having their hearing loss status improve from bilateral to unilateral).
- Among 102 children and young people with hearing impairment at their first audiology check, the severity of impairment improved for 50% at their last check, remained at the same level for 40%, and deteriorated for 10%.
Middle ear conditions among children and young people who received services
- In 2013–14, of the 1,791 children and young people who received an audiology or ENT service, 67% were diagnosed with at least 1 type of middle ear condition (an increase from 61% in 2012–13)—most commonly otitis media with effusion (24%).
- Of the 781 children and young people who received 2 or more ENT or audiology services from July 2012 to June 2014, the proportion diagnosed with at least 1 middle ear condition between the first and last service decreased, from 79% to 76%.
- Improvements were seen for those who received 3 or more services since August 2007: the proportion of children and young people diagnosed with at least 1 middle ear condition decreased, from 81% at the first service to 55% at the last service.
- Among those diagnosed with chronic suppurative otitis media with discharge or dry perforation at an initial service, overall, the results suggest poor progress, with the majority of these children and young people still experiencing the same condition or developing another type of ear disease over the course of their treatment.