Ms Samantha Harkus1
1Australian Hearing, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia
At ANHSC 2015, data was presented that demonstrated a significant difference in the age of first hearing aid fitting for Aboriginal children with hearing loss at birth relative to non-Indigenous Australian children. After Australian Hearing data was adjusted to account for prevalence of conductive hearing loss, small Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander client numbers, and differences in size and profile of populations, there remained a significant difference in age of first hearing aid fitting for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children compared to non-Indigenous Australian children.
This paper will present and discuss data for the intervening period along with a review of actions being taken across the sector aimed at bringing about a closing of the gap in age of first fitting.
I am an audiologist with extensive experience in providing clinical services in urban, rural and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. My work focusses on the intersection between rehabilitative hearing services delivery and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities. This includes identifying current and emerging issues relevant to this community and overcoming logistical, organisational and relational barriers that stand in the way of accessing services. Central to this work is the building of respectful relationships and the examining and improving of systems to bring about better ways of working and connecting people with the services they need.