Summary

Ear and hearing health is vital for overall health and quality of life. Ear disease and associated hearing loss can have long-lasting impacts on education, wellbeing and employment. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are more likely than non-Indigenous children to experience ear and hearing problems. A number of factors contribute towards the poorer ear and hearing health of Indigenous children, including lack of access to health services, household overcrowding and second-hand smoke exposure. 

Over the last decade, the Australian Government has funded the Northern Territory Government to deliver hearing health outreach services to Indigenous children and young people aged under 21 in the Northern Territory. The Northern Territory Remote Aboriginal Investment Hearing Health Program provides outreach audiology, ear, nose and throat (ENT) and Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) services. 

This report presents new data for the Hearing Health Program for 2018. It focuses on services provided between July 2012 and December 2018 to produce time trends and track children and young people as they move through the program. Long-term analyses from 2007 to 2018 are also included. Throughout this report, you will find links to the supplementary tables related to the figures presented. Supplementary tables are available at the AIHW website. 

How many children received services?

  • In 2018, 1,922 outreach audiology services were provided to 1,751 children and young people. 
  • 717 ENT teleotology services were provided to 668 children and young people—approximately 150 fewer services than in 2017. 
  • Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs) conducted 905 visits to 848 children—around 30 more services than in 2017. 
  • A total of 1,817 children and young people received at least 1 audiology, CNS or ENT teleotology service in 2018.