Health workers, nurses and doctors working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families can help reduce the prevalence of Otitis Media by:
- always checking children’s ears whenever they visit the clinic (even if they are there for another reason);
- helping to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of Otitis Media;
- helping to raise awareness that children can have Otitis Media with no symptoms;
- explaining the link between Otitis Media and hearing loss;
- explaining the impact hearing loss can have on children, especially the significant long-term impact on language and learning;
- helping parents and carers to realise that Otitis Media and hearing loss are not normal; and
- helping to convey to parents and carers the importance of the key prevention messages of:
- regular ear examinations/surveillance
- treating early infections to completion
- not smoking around children
- good hygiene
- good nutrition.
To help health professionals convey these key messages to parents and carers, an Otitis Media Resource Kit for Health Professionals has been developed.
Kids’ ears should be checked every time they’re at the clinic. If they’re coming in for an immunisation, a chest infection, or even a splinter on their toe – check their ears. A quick 10 minute test can make all the difference. It’s impossible to underestimate the importance of kids’ hearing.
Sandi Nelson - Ear & Hearing Health Worker, NT
Sandi Nelson - Ear & Hearing Health Worker, NT.
Dr Latisha Petterson - General Practitioner, Registrar. Director of Indigenous Transition Pathways into Medicine – Flinders University (Northern Territory). Treasurer, Australian Indigenous Doctors' Association (AIDA).