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Health First Nations

Promoting hearing health on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s day

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New resources have been released to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander hearing health as part of Hearing Australia’s Hearing Assessment Program – Early Ears (HAPEE).

Hearing Australia has released a new video telling the story of the Spirit of Sound as part of ongoing efforts to improve the hearing health of First Nations children. The video is available at Hearing Australia’s website.

The ‘Spirit of Sound’ Storybook is a collaboration with artist Davinder Hart, of the Noongar nation and is available at Hearing Australia’s centres across the country. The Storybook has been distributed nationally to childcare centres, community organisations and Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations.

A series of community events will kick off across Australia today with storybook sessions and opportunities to meet with Hearing Australia community engagement officers.

Wiradjuri man, father and actor Luke Carroll and Gumbaynggirr, Dhungatti, Yamatji and Bibbulman woman, mother and songwriter Emma Donovan, are encouraging community to make sure children have regular hearing checks before they start school.

“A regular check is so important before they start school. Hearing is so important, especially in the early years to listen and learn. From birth, my daughter has had regular appointments with Hearing Australia, who have helped us to understand her deafness and different ways of communicating,” said Emma.

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“I’m very proud to work with Hearing Australia to highlight the importance of a regular hearing check for our kids,” said Emma.

Luke, who stars in the Spirit of Sound storybook video, says Children’s Day is an important time to highlight the benefits of hearing checks to help kids to be their best and dream big.

“Our kids are far more likely to by affected by hearing issues than non-Indigenous children and it can severely impact their ability to listen and learn. Under the HAPEE Program, regular hearing checks are free from Hearing Australia for all First Nations children aged 0-6 not yet attending full time school and they give them the very best start in life” said Luke.

Joining Luke and Emma are local First Nations community ambassadors, including Richard Tambling, Elsie Seriat in the Torres Strait and Daniella Borg in Perth.

Jabiru based former AFL player, father and descendant of the Uwynmil people, Richard Tambling reflects on the importance of hearing in culture.

“When we’re out bush on country, we need healthy ears, we need hearing to learn our old ways and for our knowledge and for our Elders to share their stories,” said Richard.

“Hearing Australia’s HAPEE program means hearing checks are free, safe and simple. I encourage everyone to get their kids a regular hearing check, from birth.”

Kim Terrell, Managing Director of Hearing Australia, said that the program is seeing positive results, not only in detecting and treating hearing loss, but also in building confidence and capability in communities to identify, manage and monitor children for hearing health issues.

“Over the past 75 years we have been proud to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and we want every First Nations child to have the best possible hearing to help them in life” said Kim.

“The HAPEE Program provides hearing checks through face-to-face and telehealth and works alongside communities to improve the hearing health of children.”

Resources are available for parents and educators to support hearing health at https://hearing.com.au/HAPEE/Information-and-Resources.

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