Deadly Ears is a Queensland Health initiative that works with children and families from Indigenous communities to raise awareness and understanding of the impact of ear disease in children and treat it where it occurs. Up to 8 in 10 children in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have chronic middle ear disease (otitis media). The negative impact of chronic ear disease on children is profound. The hearing loss that results from chronic middle ear disease can cause significant developmental delays (especially in the language domains), educational difficulties and impair a child’s ability to actively participate in their community. As an adult, these problems contribute to poor self-esteem, increased rates of unemployment and significant social and economic disadvantage.
HOPE4HEALTH has developed a strong relationship with the Deadly Ears program. Health students are able to attend placements in Brisbane where they learn about middle ear disease and the health burden it produces in Indigenous communities. Students also participate in cultural competence workshops and have an opportunity to develop their clinical skills such as ear examination using an otoscope.