24 November 2017

Children’s Health Queensland’s Deadly Ears indigenous child hearing health program has been helping Woorabinda children to listen, learn and talk for 10 years.

In that time, the Deadly Ears outreach team has:

  • delivered 1454 appointments (4-5 outreach clinics a year)
  • conducted 745 hearing tests
  • performed 112 ENT surgeries in Woorabinda Hospital (meaning children and families did not have to travel into Rockhampton for treatment).

To mark this milestone, the Woorabinda community today hosted a special thank you event for the Deadly Ears team at the Woorabinda Hospital.

Deadly Ears Program Director, Matthew Brown, said the program’s success in improving the ear health of children in Woorabinda reflected Children’s Health Queensland’s increasing emphasis on improving indigenous child and family access outcomes.

“The success of the Deadly Ears program in the region would not have been possible without a collaborative approach to indigenous health and the support of the Woorabinda community, staff at Woorabinda Health service, Dr Evan Matthews and the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service.

“Collaborative approaches with Australian Hearing, Undoonoo Day Care and Woorabinda State Schools have also worked to help children with hearing loss improve their ability to listen, learn and talk.”

The Deadly Ears program was established in 2008 to address the high rates of conductive hearing loss arising from middle-ear disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children across Queensland.

Australia has one of the highest recorded rates of middle ear disease in the world for its First Nations peoples.

If left untreated, the hearing loss associated with middle ear disease impacts on health, educational outcomes and contributes to long-term social disadvantage.

The Deadly Ears program currently delivers outreach clinical services and local capacity building in 11 locations across rural and remote Queensland.

“We want to make sure every child is afforded the best opportunity to listen, learn and reach their full potential,” Mr Brown said.