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Hearing Assessment Program - Early Ears (HAPEE)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have high rates of otitis media (middle ear infection) and subsequent hearing loss. They suffer an average of 32 months of hearing loss in childhood, compared with three months for non-Indigenous children.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with undiagnosed hearing loss are disadvantaged at school with delayed auditory, cognitive and psychosocial development.

The PHN is partnering with Hearing Australia to provide opportunities for general practices to provide their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients with to access diagnostic hearing assessments.

HAPEE - Frequently Asked Questions

What if my practice already does hearing assessments?

Audiometrists are only qualified to do assessments on patients 4yrs and above. This means your 0–3-year-old patients are not being assessed for early intervention.

What is the benefit for your practice?

This program provides qualified Audiologists who can conduct hearing assessments from birth for your Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Who is eligible?

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the years before primary school.

Where will it happen?

Assessments can be arranged to take place in a quiet room in your practice or at a location that is mutually agreeable with your patients and the program. For example, a Library.

What will it cost?

There is no cost to patients or practices to hold a clinic. There is no cost to the patients if referred into the program for ongoing treatment and devices.

When will the clinics take place?

We can liaise with your practice to organise a mutually agreeable time to conduct a clinic. Clinic days can be flexible depending on the number of assessments required. For example, 1-2 days a month.

What tests are provided?

The four tests in the Hearing Assessment Program – Early Ears (HAP-EE)

  1. Otoscopy
  2. Play Audiometry - age appropriate
  3. OAE
  4. Tympanometry
What ongoing treatment is provided?

If the child needs ongoing hearing care through the means of devices, assessments etc then they get referred into the funded Hearing Australia CSO/ Outreach pathway as a paediatric client. They remain a paediatric client until they turn 26 years of age.

If it is recommended the child sees an ENT, the Audiologist will write a report for the GP which advises this. Hearing Australia will also fit hearing aids if needed and provide ongoing support.

What next?

Please contact Sherilee McManus to discuss further details on organising a clinic for your practice.

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