This is the first Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) annual report on the ear and hearing health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and adults, following the release of the foundational report in 2022.

First Nations people continue to experience excessive rates of ear and hearing problems which can have profound impacts on overall health and quality of life. Ear disease and hearing loss in children can have a big impact on their speech, language, thinking skills and social development. As children grow up, these issues can make it difficult for them to be part of community, culture, and work. Much ear disease and hearing loss affecting First Nations people, particularly children and younger adults, is preventable.

This report brings together information on the prevalence of ear and hearing problems among First Nations people and ear and hearing health programs, services and workforce. It includes insights into the complexity of the ear and hearing health system. The report presents information on accessibility and use of ear and hearing health care services by First Nations people, from screening to treatment to rehabilitation and includes information from on-the-ground First Nations specific primary health care service providers. The report identifies key data gaps and potential areas for data development.