NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: New hearing tools designed to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children

Smiling Aboriginal mother holding laughing toddler against green shrub background & new hearing tools text

New hearing tools to help children like Tjandamurra thrive

The PLUM and HATS tools have been designed specifically to help detect hearing and speech problems in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. According to the AIHW Aboriginal children aged between 0 and 18 are five times more likely to be diagnosed with severe middle ear disease than non-Indigenous Australian children. Detecting and treating the problem early is very likely to improve the child’s future.

For many children like Tjandamurra, undetected hearing loss leads to delays in listening and communication skills. Parents and children can be frustrated, unable to communicate effectively in everyday life.

New hearing tools to help children like Tjandamurra

Now aged 3, Tjandamarra has already experienced more than his share of hospitals and specialists. He experienced numerous ear infections and a burst ear drum before being diagnosed with chronic hearing issues. Tjandamurra struggled to hear and had difficulty learning to communicate well.

“I knew what to look for because of the experience I had with his older brother Rylan. We had such trouble getting him hearing help in the beginning – it took me years to get grommets for him,” said Tjandamurra’s Mum, Kaylah.

Kaylah says it was almost by chance that Tjandamurra’s hearing journey took a leap. Within the first month of starting at a Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council playgroup there was a pop-up hearing clinic run at the playgroup. “We jumped at the chance to attend the clinic and haven’t looked back.”

The PLUM assessment indicated a score of 18: well below the acceptable level of listening skill for a 3-year-old. Wasting no time, Kaylah decided to get Tjandamurra fitted with a bone conduction hearing aid to provide immediate assistance. With this hearing technology, the world opened up for the vibrant boy. Tjandamurra is now wearing his hearing device and working with his regular speech therapist to improve on his speech and listening skills.

Within two weeks of getting his bone conduction hearing aid, the PLUM assessment was repeated. Tjandamurra achieved a score of 28, an increase of 10 points! While the score was still a little below his peers, the results showed the positive outcomes that could be achieved within a short time after the intervention and support.

Within a month, Tjandamurra had gone from a toddler with little-to-no speech to being able to say 30 sentences. It’s a huge jump in his development. Now that he can hear there is no looking back.

To read the full media release click here.

For more information visit or visit

ACU Indigenous Higher Education Units

The Australian Catholic University (ACU) has a range of information available about the ACU, accommodation in Canberra, scholarships, uniform and start up awards and studying at ACU as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student – see links below.

The final of three virtual open days is 9–3pm this Saturday 12 September. You can access the open day from the comfort of your home and speak one-on-one with one of the ACU’s First Peoples Directorate and faculty staff.

Accommodation Canberra

First People’s General

IHEU Dhara Daramoolen

Scholarships Canberra

Uniforms and Start Up Award

Free OPAN Webinar hearing services

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs Provider News has published an article on a webinar to inform health professionals, community workers, veterans and their families about hearing devices and treatments available to veterans with hearing loss and tinnitus. To read the article click here.

To participate in the Understanding and Accessing DVA Services: Hearing Services webinar you can register via Eventbrite on the following link:

Health professional checking ear of Aboriginal boy

Image source: Menzies School of Health Research website

An introduction to Indigenous Australian LGBQTI+ suicide prevention

To coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day activities globally, an online event – An introduction to Indigenous Australian LGBQTI+ suicide prevention will be held this Friday, 11 September.

The event will be presented by Dameyon Bonson, an Indigenous gay male recognised as an Indigenous suicide prevention subject matter expert, specifically in Indigenous LGBQTI+ suicide.

For more information and to get your tickets click here.

Time for care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQ+ young people is now

Where does a young, LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other non‐heteronormative or non‐binary sexual and gender identities, including asexual) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person go for health care in Australia? Do they attend an Aboriginal community controlled health organisation in search of culturally sensitive care? Or do they visit an LGBTQ+ friendly health service to access staff trained in sexual and gender diversity? Is there a space for them, and other LGBTQ+ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, in the Australian health care landscape? These questions are being posed by Indigenous LGBTQ+ health advocates.

To read the full report in the Medical Journal of Australia click here.

Indigenous education strategy failing remote communities

A policy that sees Indigenous students from remote communities board ‘off country’ in an attempt to advance their education opportunities is having the reverse effect, a major new report warns.

The report, the first of its kind and led by Dr Marnie O’Bryan and Dr William Fogarty from the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) at the Australian National University (ANU), examined the educational outcomes of young people from a remote community in the NT over 10 years. 

To read the full story click here.

South Australian Government

Governing Board Members with experience in Aboriginal health sought for SA Local Health Networks

hands holding pen over document & SA government logo

Image source: Australian Medical Association.

The SA Government is looking to fill current and future vacancies for its 10 Local Health Network Governing Boards, which cover metropolitan and regional SA. Governing Board Members are positions of significant strategic leadership and responsibility in the health system.

Expressions of Interest are being sought from people with expertise, knowledge or experience in Aboriginal health. Please click here for more information and to apply.