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North Burnett

Hearing checks add to early intervention in North Burnett

Mother holds infant in her lap while audiologist checks infants ears.

“HEARING issues can affect a child at any age, and it is vital to address these as soon as possible,” says IWC’s North Burnett Manager Jenni Toogood, a Health Professional with decades of experience in rural and remote communities.

“Hearing is critical to speech and language development, communication, and learning. This is why IWC is working with Hearing Australia to bring a new initiative to North Burnett – free hearing checks for babies and children aged from zero to five years old.

“The checks will involve IWC staff and a qualified Hearing Australia-provided Audiologist, who will be able to identify immediately whether a child needs to be referred to an ENT (Ear Nose Throat) specialist.”

The Aboriginal community-controlled organisation and registered charity currently delivers a range of health and medical services across the North Burnett, offering them to all people, Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

“These hearing checks for babies and small children join our range of specific family and parent initiatives delivered on the ground in North Burnett,” said Jenni. “These include regular Midwife sessions and monthly Mums & Bubs’ Group events, as well as the delivery of hearing checks to primary and secondary school-age students.

“The school checks have been delivered over many years through all 18 schools in North Burnett, and through them many children and teens have been referred by IWC to an Audiologist, and from there to an ENT Specialist for treatment.

“That timely treatment has meant they can be given every opportunity to succeed at school, and in other areas of their life, which might otherwise be denied them if they have a hearing impediment.”

The free 0-5 year old Hearing Checks are being delivered in partnership with Hearing Australia, with the first taking place on Wednesday 4 March and then every two months.

“The next dates after March will be May 6, July 8, September 9 and November 11.”

Importantly, no GP or other health professional is required for parents or grandparents to access the free service.

“Self-referral is encouraged,” said Jenni. “All you have to do is book an appointment. We can offer courtesy IWC transport if required, and each appointment will take around 30 minutes.”

The sessions will take place at the IWC Health & Wellbeing Clinic on the corner of Gordon and Pineapple Sts, Gayndah. Phone 07 4161 4800 to book an appointment.

IWC is currently working to deliver a $2.43 million project to bring a purpose-built clinical and community facility to North Burnett, which will replace the small clinic from which it currently operates in Pineapple St, Gayndah.

The new IWC Health & Wellbeing Community Centre on the site of the former YMCA premises will be for all people, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, and open the way to expansion of services and initiatives to people across the whole of North Burnett. The project also will reopen the Sports Stadium that closed when the YMCA site closed in 2016.