Charitable Foundation hears the good work of Dubbo’s Hear our Heart Project
Tell us about the fundamental importance of the Hear our Heart (HOH) project – what are the gaps it’s filling?
There are far too many children who remain at high risk and consistently fall through the service gaps, with their hearing problems unidentified and untreated.
With Hear our Heart interventions (indicated in the main diagram as green pillars) across the hearing continuum, the services they provide fill the gap and support and strengthen the impacts of existing services.
If a child isn’t diagnosed and treated for hearing difficulties early on, how much pain and loss of opportunity can this mean for them in their later lives?
An Itinerant Support Teacher Conductive Hearing Loss (ISTCHL) teacher provides support, trying to assist the many children who have hearing issues and fall through the service gaps across the continuum.
If a child doesn’t get picked up at this early stage, what are the chances they can be helped back on track during their secondary schooling, or is that too late?
For a student of high school age with hearing loss that does not get “picked up”, their struggles can be multi-faceted and have wide-ranging implications.
These may include not only not having equal access and participation to the curriculum, but also they’re forever playing catch-up to fill the gaps in learning.
Many have significant language delays, speech, communication and behaviour issues. Regular curriculum should to be differentiated for them to assist their understanding so they have a chance to learn the fundamentals. GRAPHIC: HEAR OUR HEART
Some of these students have language deficits that place them at an age equivalence of a five-year-old.
For them, coping with the huge amount of topics and content thrown at them at the high school level can be very overwhelming.
The impact can affect their wellbeing, confidence and identity.
For our teens, this is a time when everyday life can be challenging, and so with a hearing loss on top of it all they certainly need support – including diagnosis and amplification if needed, but also understanding from their teachers and family.
You’ve been pushing for state and federal funding. Why is such a successful on-the-ground project so difficult to get operational funding for?
There is federal funding and it’s quite substantial. The latest budget actually announced $30 million for ear health! (The 2017 federal report titled “Examination of Australian Government Indigenous Ear and Hearing Health Initiatives”) is an interesting read from our perspective! It describes where/who the dollars have been with over the past few years. Again, quite substantial!
Locally there are providers who have funding from the HEBHBL (Healthy Ears – Better Hearing,
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HOHEBP (Hear our Heart Ear Bus Project) – Continuum of hearing health & education.