Two women, one wearing a nurse uniform holding auditory equipment.

Hearing Australia Audiologist Megan Hardie Porter and Audiometry Clinical Nurse Specialist Helen Gee at the training morning with the new equipment.

Grant will help improve hearing services in the Hastings Macleay

May 08, 2024

The Hastings Macleay Clinical Network’s Hearing Service has been awarded a Closing the Gap grant, through the Australian Government’s EarTrain hearing program, in partnership with Sonic equipment.

The generous grant has enabled the service to acquire new equipment that ensures best practice standards in hearing screening.

The team now has:

  • MedRx otoscope – this enables viewing of the eardrum onto a computer screen, allowing parents to view or to photograph and share with GPs and/or ENT specialists.
  • GSI TEOAE – this equipment tests cochlea function and is recognised as being best practice in testing. It provides an objective method of testing (it does not rely on the client giving a response as to whether they have heard the sound). They are quick, dependable, and non-invasive. An OAE is used to measure outer cochlea hair cell activity. It does not replace the hearing audiogram but is an added tool to help with the hearing assessment.
  • AvantA2D+ audiometer – a portable audiometer which in the future is hoped will enable Hearing services to be provided to the network’s outreach health centres.

The team has also received sound compliance approval certificates for its rooms in Port Macquarie and Kempsey as well as rooms in Wauchope, South West Rocks and Camden Haven HealthOne facilities in the expectation that in the future the service can be expanded to include these outreach areas.

District Manager Out of Home Care Health Pathway program Grainne Ducat said the grant would help improve the Hearing service for the Hastings Macleay community.

“Our small team of Audiometry Nurses, Diane Shinnick and Helen Gee, offer clinic-based diagnostic hearing assessments in Kempsey and Port Macquarie Community Health centres and visit targeted outreach preschools and schools to conduct hearing screening,” Ms Ducat said.

“Hearing Services offered by Community Health provide an essential secondary assessment service that links initial screening programs, such as Universal Newborn Hearing Screening (SWISH), the Aboriginal Otitis Media guidelines, the 4-year-old health check, and School Health Hearing Screening programs/ Brighter Beginnings with tertiary services.”

Ms Ducat said these primary screening programs identify hearing health issues requiring referral for diagnostic assessment and management.

Following diagnostic assessment, Audiometry Nurses facilitate onward referral to speech pathologists, counsellors, Ear Nose and Throat specialists, and other health practitioners and audiologists as appropriate, as well as educational support programs.

Two nurses seated, looking at the camera

Audiometry team members Di Shinnick and Helen Gee at the training session.

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