Targeted Hearing Screening in the Community – Delegation Model

Mrs Beth Polkinghorne1

1Queensland Health, Nundah, Australia

Children’s Health Queensland has recognised the need to deliver hearing screening in the community to those children not already accessing services through the three other screening programs available.  These are 1) Healthy Hearing Program, the statewide universal newborn hearing screening and targeted surveillance program, 2) Deadly Ears Program which provides statewide prevention, early identification and management of middle ear disease and associated conductive hearing loss in Indigenous children; 3) The 4-5 Year Clinics run through Child Health Service in the greater Brisbane Area.

To address this need the Targeted Hearing Screening Pilot Project was developed and is conducted in a local Community Health Centre.  This service will offer screening to those who are identified as at risk for hearing loss (e.g. parental concern regarding hearing or speech and language delays) or to children who are already referred as a Category 3 (routine patient) to the local hospital Audiology Department.  This pilot is examining the feasibility of a delegation model where Allied Health Assistants are trained in hearing screening and are supervised by a Senior Audiologist.  The project is being conducted in a local Community Health Centre.  We will discuss the service model, including inclusion/exclusion criteria, screening protocols, equipment and referral pathways.  Outcomes of the pilot to date will also be presented.


Beth Polkinghorne is a paediatric audiologist with 8 years experience and currently works for Children’s Health Queensland.  Beth has an interest in screening programs, hearing implants and teleaudiology.


The Australasian Newborn Hearing Screening Committee aims to foster the establishment, maintenance and evaluation of high quality screening programs for the early detection of permanent childhood hearing impairment throughout Australia and New Zealand.

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