Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet
Faculty of Education and Arts
Office of Assoc Dean - Research and Higher Degrees (FEA)/Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet
Indigenous Australians experience some of the highest levels of ear disease and hearing loss in the world, with rates up to ten times more than those for non-Indigenous Australians . Children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to ear infections. The most common ear disease among Indigenous children is otitis media (OM), which is inflammation/infection of the middle ear typically caused by bacterial and viral pathogens. Indigenous children living in urban, rural and, particularly, remote areas, are more likely than their non-Indigenous counterparts to have OM at younger ages, more often, at a greater level of severity, and with more likelihood of further complications. Ear infections are responsible for the bulk of hearing problems with lifelong consequences, many of which are preventable and treatable. Hearing loss can be a major contributor to poor education and to unemployment, which are risk factors for contact with the justice system.