Objective: Evaluate ear health and hearing among urban Aboriginal children and quantify relationships with child, family and social factors. Methods: Baseline questionnaire and ear health examinations from 1430 children with diagnoses (0.5-18 years) attending Aboriginal Health Services enrolled in SEARCH. Ear health outcomes were Otitis Media (OM), and hearing loss (three-frequency average hearing loss >20dB) diagnosed using pneumatic otoscopy, tympanometry, and audiometry. Results: Half the children 0.5-3 years had OM (51.5%, 136/264). One third 0.5-18 years (30.4%; 435/1430) had OM, including 1.8% (26/1430) with perforation (0.8% chronic suppurative OM, 0.6% dry perforation and 0.4% acute OM with perforation). One quarter 0.5-18 years (25.7%; 279/1087) had hearing loss; 12.4% unilateral, 13.2% bilateral (70.6% with bilateral loss had concurrent OM). OM was associated with: younger age (0.5-<3 years versus 6-18 years) age-sex-site; adjusted prevalence ratio (aPR)=2.64, 95%, 2.18-3.19); attending childcare/preschool (aPR=1.24, 95%CI, 1.04-1.49); foster care (aPR=1.40, 95%CI, 1.10-1.79); previous ear infection/s (aPR=1.68, 95%CI, 1.42-1.98); and ≥2 people/bedroom (aPR=1.66, 95%CI, 1.24-2.21). Hearing impairment was associated with younger age (0.5-<6 years vs. ≥6 years aPR=1.89, 95%CI, 1.40-2.55) and previous ear infection (aPR=1.87, 95%CI, 1.31-2.68). Conclusions: Half the urban Aboriginal children in this cohort had OM and two-thirds with hearing impairment had OM. Implications for Public Health: Findings highlight importance of early detection and support for ear health, particularly in pre-school-aged children with risk factors.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2023|
- otitis media
- ear health