Matthew Gee tests the hearing of a student from Blackwater State School.
Matthew Gee tests the hearing of a student from Blackwater State School. Contributed

School kids 'hear' to learn from support program

THIS year, hundreds of children across Central Queensland were given access to a vital health program.

Between March and June, almost 1000 primary school students across 22 schools in areas including Blackwater, Moranbah and Dysart had a visit from Queensland-wide charity, Hear and Say.

Hear and Say's Hear to Learn - School Hearing Program, which runs in partnership with the program's founding regional partner, Thiess, screens children for hearing or ear health issues.

Established in 1992, the program provides support for children and young adults across five centres, as well as via a telepractice program for rural and remote families.

Shockingly, on average as many as 15 per cent of primary school children may be affected by slight or mild hearing loss.

Of the students screened, results found that 19 per cent of students were experiencing hearing or ear health issues requiring follow-up from a GP, a hearing test or further monitoring by a parent.

CEO of Hear and Say Chris McCarthy said the school-based screening program was particularly vital as hearing loss could occur at any time and children who are not hearing as well as they could in the classroom can face an enormous impact on their ability to learn.

"We often get teachers or parents saying their children are naughty or won't listen, when the truth is they can't hear,” Mr McCarthy said.

"If we can pick up the hearing loss, we can work with families and use early intervention to make a difference, no matter where they live.”

Mr McCarthy said the team were thrilled to have the continued support of its longstanding partner, Thiess, to reach even more students in the Bowen Basin area this year.

"We are incredibly proud of our 24-year partnership with Thiess and working together on this initiative means that children with hearing issues living outside of the major cities can be identified and steps put in place to address any concerns,” Mr McCarthy said.

  • To find out more about Hear and Say, contact the team on 07 3850 2111.

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