Early childhood and community groups

Page last updated: 19 September 2016

During pre-school and primary school years many children suffer middle ear infections (Otitis Media) and mild hearing loss. Some studies suggest that up to 91% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in rural communities present with Otitis Media (OM).

Left untreated, ear infections can lead to hearing loss which may limit a child’s capacity to develop socially and emotionally. Ear infections can also adversely affect educational outcomes.

For these reasons, it is important you, as well as carers and parents know what to do if a child’s ear is sore. In addition, because an infected ear may present without symptoms, it is crucial everyone who cares for children recognises the importance of regular ear check ups.

The Care for Kids’ Ears kit for early childhood and community groups has been created to raise awareness of ear disease and hearing loss in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Featuring the characters Kathy and Ernie, the kit aims to deliver positive and consistent ear health messages to young children whilst also helping you, one of the most influential care providers of children, understand the ear health message.

Young child looking distressed and covering his eye in pain with hand on his forehead.
Group of women and children sitting on the 
grass and reading the My Ears storybook together.

Fast facts - why have ear health resources?

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are thought to have the highest prevalence of chronic suppurative Otitis Media in the world. Some studies suggest that up to 91% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in rural communities present with Otitis Media (OM).
  • If middle ear infections go untreated they can cause long-term hearing loss.
  • Children at daycare centres are five times more likely to experience a middle ear infection due to increased exposure.