A new Australian Government toolkit is aimed at ensuring young children meet milestones for hearing and speaking.

Rates of hearing loss and ear disease for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are significantly higher than the non-Indigenous population.

The Australian Government has made ending avoidable deafness for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children a priority, funding measures for ear health initiatives to reduce the number of Indigenous Australians suffering avoidable hearing loss, and give Indigenous children a better start to education.

The Parent-evaluated Listening and Understanding Measure (PLUM) and the Hearing and Talking Scale (HATS) have been developed by Hearing Australia in collaboration with Aboriginal health and early education services.

The Federal Government wants to embed the use of PLUM and HATS Australia-wide.

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services can access funding through the Service Maintenance Program to establish quiet spaces that can be used for audiology assessments.

PLUM and HATS uses questionnaires that help parents and carers, early childhood educators and health professionals to screen for hearing and communication difficulties in young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and ensure action can be taken to address problems early.

More information is accessible here.