Launched in 2019, Hearing Australia’s ongoing ‘Hearing Assessment Program — Early Ears’ or HAPEE, aims to engage communities and healthcare professionals with a focus on encouraging early and regular assessments for children before they reach school age. Through the HAPEE Program, Hearing Australia now work with communities across metro, regional, and remote Australia to tackle hearing loss and the long term affects of ear disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in order to give them the best chance at fully participating in school and in life. All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children not yet attending full time school are eligible for a free hearing check. This service is now available across the country, as the program has expanded to care for more communities in urban, regional and metro areas. Since the launch of HAPEE, over 6,000 assessments have taken place for some 5,000 children in 180 communities nationally. To date, Hearing Australia has identified over 1,100 children with undiagnosed hearing loss and helped them to get the care they need. Gumbaynggirr, Dhungatti, Yamatji and Bibbulman musician, Emma Donovan is urging other parents and carers to have their children’s ears checked regularly. Emma’s youngest child’s hearing loss was detected early. “From birth, my daughter has had regular appointments with Hearing Australia,” she said. “I had a lot of questions. I was a little bit frightened and I was unsure about things. What Hearing Australia did for me and my daughter was help us to understand more about her deafness and what kind of deafness it was.” “My biggest concern was always worrying about my daughter’s learning ability with hearing loss and the impact it might have on things that I want to teach her. I want to teach her traditional songs in language. That’s important for me to pass down to my kids” Emma highlighted that the regular appointments and check-ups have helped her to feel more secure.
GP down south is an exemplary not-for-profit community organisation. We have been providing health and wellbeing services in the Peel regions and the South West of WA since 1994.