Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are being given free access a new hearing screening test that has been developed by the National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL) in collaboration with Aboriginal health and early education services.
Parent-evaluated Listening and Understanding Measure (PLUM) and the Hearing and Talking Scale (HATS) are designed to identify hearing problems earlier in young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are available for free by visiting plumandhats.nal.gov.au.
Hearing loss in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is most commonly due to middle ear infection, also known as otitis media2. These infections are often without pain and frequently start before the child’s first birthday.
Because the signs are subtle, hearing loss is often not picked up until children start school. Long term, undetected hearing loss in these early years raises the risk of children not being developmentally ‘on track’ when they start school. Now there are tools to help identify these children so they can get the hearing help they need.