NACCHO Ear and Hearing Health Project

WayneQuilliamPhotography2011DarwinHealth03The Project aims to progress the training of health workers for the ear health and hearing screening component of the Improving Eye and Ear Health Services for Indigenous Australians for Better Education and Employment Outcome measure announced in 2009.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience some of the highest levels of ear disease and hearing loss in the world, with rates up to 10 times more than those for non-Indigenous Australians.

Children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to ear infections. The most common ear disease among Aboriginal Children is otitis media (OM), which is inflammation/infection of the middle ear typically caused by bacterial and viralpathogens.

ear01Ear infections are responsible for the bulk of hearing problems with lifelong consequences, many of which are preventable and treatable if diagnosed early.

Training was provided by several Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) nationally that were assessed as capable of delivering the training, not only from a training perspective but also because they can deliver training in a culturally appropriate and safe manner that is consistent with adult learning principles.

NACCHO’s aim was to coordinate the development of the delivery of Ear and Hearing Health Skill Set training for up to 115 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers (ATSIHW)

ear02The outcomes of the Project include:

  • A Sector-supported and sustainable good practice model for ongoing delivery of the accredited Ear and Hearing Health Training Skill Set on a national basis;
  • Strengthened capacity of Aboriginal community-controlled RTOs to provide accredited ear and hearing health training so it is accessible to the ATSIHW workforce across all jurisdictions;
  • Enhanced knowledge and skills about ear and hearing health among ATSIHWs;
  • Effective and sustainable training delivery partnerships with ear and hearing health experts; and
  • An increase in the number of ATSIHWs training under the accredited Skill Set.

Training was delivered in the 2014-2015 financial year and will continue across the 2015-2016 financial year, delivered in a number of jurisdictions nationally. In 2014-2015, training commenced in Brisbane, Queensland and eight Aboriginal Health Workers completed this training. Twenty training places are available in Queensland, split across two locations being Brisbane and Cairns. Training in Cairns will occur in the 2015-2016 financial year.