This report presents information on ear and hearing health outreach services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people aged under 21 in the Northern Territory. These services were funded by the Australian Government and delivered by the Northern Territory Government.
In 2016, 2,452 outreach audiology services, 1,020 ear, nose and throat (ENT) teleotology services and 1,156 Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) services were provided to 2,164, 939 and 1,074 children and young people, respectively.
From July 2012 to December 2016, there was a total of 10,576 outreach audiology services, 4,338 ENT teleotology services and 3,663 CNS services provided to 5,878, 2,720 and 3,002 children and young people, respectively.
Improvement in ear and hearing health
The percentage of children and young people with at least 1 ear disease decreased by 15 percentage points from July 2012 to December 2016 (from 76% to 61%).
The percentage of children and young people with hearing loss decreased by 10 percentage points from July 2012 to December 2016 (from 55% to 45%).
Children aged 0–5 who received audiology services were more likely to have improvements in hearing impairment and hearing loss over time, compared with older children. This is consistent with other studies that demonstrated that early intervention is effective in improving hearing health outcomes for children.
Tracking children and young people over time as they move through the Hearing Health Program, 51% had improved hearing loss and 62% had improved hearing impairment (from July 2012 to December 2016).
Demand for hearing health services
While the number of children and young people who use the Hearing Health Program has increased over time, there are still high numbers of outstanding referrals. As at December 2016, there were 2,726 children and young people on the waiting list for outreach audiology services and 2,051 on the waiting list for ENT teleotology services.
Progress against benchmarks
Service delivery targets have mostly been met. These targets focus on the number of services provided by specific Hearing Health Program services.
Targets related to health outcomes for hearing impairment are on track to be met, and are centred on improved hearing and having lower percentages of children with hearing impairment.
Most of the health outcome targets for middle ear conditions are on track to be met. These targets focus on decreasing the percentage of children and young people with certain middle ear conditions.
Preliminary material: Acknowledgments; Abbreviations: About this report
- Why is ear and hearing health important?
- Ear and hearing health in the Northern Territory
2 Service delivery
- Health education, promotion and prevention
- Outreach audiology services
- ENT teleotology services
- Clinical Nurse Specialist services
3 Ear conditions and hearing health status
- Ear conditions
- Hearing status
4 Demand for ear and hearing health services and other follow-up services
- Follow-up services required after audiologist visits
- Follow-up services required after ENT teleotology services
5 Outcomes of young people after exiting the program
- Time spent in the Hearing Health Program
- Changes over time in hearing health
- Further actions and recommendations
6 Regional analysis
- Hearing loss
- Hearing impairment
- Ear conditions
7 Progress made against benchmarks
- Service delivery
- Health outcomes-hearing impairment
- Health outcomes-middle ear conditions
Appendix A: Online tables
Appendix B: About the Hearing Health Program data collections
Appendix C: Data Quality Statement
End matter: Glossary; References; List of figures; Related publications