It was a milestone worth loudly celebrating when our Hear to Learn School Hearing Screening program reached its 50,000th student (or 100,000th ear) screened in February 2020.
Oakleigh State School in the Brisbane suburb of Ashgrove saw the first student screened during the program’s pilot in 2015. It was back in those very same schoolgrounds where preppie, Harvey became the 50,000th student to receive screening through Hear to Learn.
Across the 288 schools visited throughout Queensland in the last five years – many with repeat visits – an average 23% of students were found not to be optimally hearing on the day of screening, with approximately 11% referred for further assessment.
This includes students found with hearing loss requiring hearing aids or implantable technology; perforated ear drums; and numerous foreign objects preventing adequate hearing such as buttons, beads and even insects.
Hear to Learn is currently funded through a combination of government and philanthropic support, as well as school co-contributions where feasible.
“We know that hearing loss does not discriminate and can occur at any time. Children who are not hearing as well as they could in the classroom c an face a far‑reaching impact on their ability to learn,” said Hear and Say Clinical Director, Emma Rushbrooke.
“It is common for us to hear from parents or teachers saying that their children are misbehaving or won’t listen, when it is later found that they have a hearing or ear health issue.
“If we can pick up these issues early through our Hear to Learn program, we can work with families to ensure that these problems are promptly addressed and reduce the impact that an undiagnosed hearing loss may have on a child’s learning and development.”