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Institute for Urban Indigenous Health complete first 1,000 hearing tests

IUIH Audiology Team, celebrate their first 1000 hearing tests with the IUIH Allied Health Director Dr Alison Nelson. Pictured from left to right- Kristy Moore, Dr Alison Nelson, Dr Nuala Beahan, and Patrice Johnson

Since Audiology was introduced to Allied health services in the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) in June 2014, the team has delivered more than 1000 hearing assessments to clients from 6 months old to 86 years of age.  28.5% of children and 75.9% of adults referred to IUIH Audiology had a hearing loss recorded at their first visit.

The IUIH was established in 2009, by four independent Community Controlled Health Services to provide for the needs of Australia’s second largest Indigenous population, and now provides services through 17 multi-disciplinary health clinics across South East Queensland with the Head Office based in Bowen Hills.

Audiology was identified as an essential Allied Health service for many urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders clients with more than 65,000 Indigenous Australians living in the South East Queensland footprint. This is over a third of Queensland’s Indigenous population, and more than the total Indigenous population of Northern Territory (56,779) and almost the total population of Western Australia (69,665). 

 

Starting with one part-time Audiologist – Dr Nuala Beahan in mid-2014 - the IUIH Audiology team has now grown to 2.3 FTEs currently filled by 3 Audiologists – Nuala Beahan, Patrice Johnson, and new team member Kristy Moore.   The IUIH Audiology team currently provide services in 16 IUIH clinic locations in South East Queensland as well providing an outreach service to clients in Hervey Bay.

Supported by Medicare through Check-up’s Healthy Ears funding, IUIH provide Audiology, Speech Pathology and Occupational therapy with a view to early detection and management of the negative outcomes associated with recurrent middle ear disease. Joint ENT and Audiology clinics are currently provided in 2 IUIH locations with visiting ENT specialists.

Delivering services directly within Aboriginal Medical Services means that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients can access Audiology services close to their home, with transport assistance, coordinated primary care, and supporting allied health services to ensure identification and management of any patient at risk of ongoing hearing loss.

The IUIH Audiology team are committed to offering student placements to Masters of Audiology students to allow as many future Audiologists as possible to experience healthcare in urban Aboriginal Medical Services and come to understand the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Audiology clients.

Future goals for the IUIH Audiology team include supporting all clinics in the IUIH network to provide a hearing screen to every child every year.  In addition to this, IUIH Audiology would like to work with the Healthy Hearing Universal Neonatal Hearing Screening (UNHS) program in Queensland Health in following up children identified at birth as being at risk of developing a postnatal hearing loss. 

For more information about IUIH and its services, visit www.iuih.org.au.

 

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