Public hearing to discuss ear diseases in Indigenous Australians


Wednesday, 31 May, 2017


Public hearing to discuss ear diseases in Indigenous Australians

The Australian Parliament’s Health, Aged Care and Sport Committee will next week be holding a public hearing in Darwin as part of its Inquiry into the Hearing Health and Wellbeing of Australia.

Hearing loss and ear diseases are three times more prevalent among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than the general population. In particular, the incidence of otitis media (middle ear infection) is very high among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. The committee will be discussing these issues with hearing experts including Dr Damien Howard, a psychologist and educator with over 30 years’ experience working in the field of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander hearing health issues.

“Hearing loss among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children has been described as a ‘wedge’ preventing the closing of the gap,” said committee chair Trent Zimmerman MP. “Persistent ear infections can result in delayed language development, impact on a student’s ability to learn in the classroom and even lead to permanent hearing loss. The committee will be discussing with experts in Darwin how the prevalence of hearing loss can be reduced among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.”

The public hearing will be held from 8–11.10 am on Wednesday, 7 June at the Hilton Darwin and broadcast live at http://aph.gov.au/live. For more information, click here.

Image caption: ©iStockphoto.com/kerriekerr

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