The 3rd of March 2021 is World Hearing Day, and we are launching the new 2020 Otitis Media Guidelines for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children (“2020 OM Guidelines”). We want to share them with the medical health professionals of Rural Health West in advance through the OM Guidelines website and mobile app, which is free to download via the Apple App Store or Google Play. These guidelines provide interactive, engaging and culturally appropriate best practice up to date information on the prevention, diagnosis and management of otitis media.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children experience some of the highest rates of otitis media (OM) in the world.  If left without appropriate care, OM can cause conductive and/or permanent hearing loss and is associated with language delay, speech problems, high vulnerability on entering school, social isolation, poor school attendance, and low education and employment opportunities. Hearing loss and otitis media rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are well above the level considered a ‘public health crisis’ by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Our mission as a Centre of Research Excellence is to ‘close the gap’ in educational and social disadvantage associated with the high prevalence of OM and conductive hearing loss in Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. The 2020 OM Guidelines have been prepared by a group of experts in the field of ear and hearing health* and bring up-to-date the Department of Health’s “2010 Recommendations for Clinical Care Guidelines on the Management of Otitis Media in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Populations”. The release of the 2020 OM Guidelines for World Hearing Day (3 March 2021) will be accompanied by the publication of our article in the Medical Journal of Australia Leach AJ, Morris P, Coates HLC, et al. Otitis media guidelines for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children: summary of recommendations. Med J Aust 2021; [in press].

The 2020 OM Guidelines mobile app and website have been designed to build on the Guidelines themselves and act as a multimedia tool for primary health care providers, with:

  • step by step guide to assist with diagnosis
  • user-friendly algorithms to assist with clinical decision making based on diagnosis
  • audio recordings in top end Aboriginal languages to assist with communication
  • educational videos for health workers, families and children
  • otitis media otoscopy image gallery and quiz
  • condensed Otitis Media Guidelines with graded evidence and links to publications

Please join us in sharing the 2020 OM Guidelines far and wide, as well as putting them into practice. If you would like us to contribute an article to “Rural Health Matters” we would be happy to do so. We also encourage you to make use of our social media tag #earhealthforlife or mention us on twitter @cre_ichear or facebook @CREICHEAR. If you would like more information or to provide us with feedback please contact CRE_ICHEAR@menzies.edu.au or Joanne Howes on 08 89 468 661.

Production and dissemination of the 2020 OM Guidelines is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Centre of Research Excellence in Ear and Hearing Health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children.

Yours sincerely

Professor Amanda Leach AM

Director

Centre for Research Excellence in Ear and Hearing Health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children

*The Otitis Media Technical Advisory Group

  • Professor Paul Torzillo MBBS, FRACP, FFICM (Chair), Executive Clinical Director, Royal Prince Alfred Medical Centre
  • Dr Judith Boswell, Adelaide Hearing Consultants
  • Dr Christopher Brennan-Jones MAudA, PhD, Head, Ear Health, Westfarmers Centre for Vaccines and Infectious Diseases, Telethon Kids Institute and University of Western Australia
  • Dr Sam Brophy-Williams, Research Officer, Menzies School of Health Research
  • Professor Harvey Coates AO, FRACS, FACS, Paediatric Otolaryngologist, University of Western Australia and Westfarmers Centre for Vaccines and Infectious Diseases, Telethon Kids Institute
  • Ms Kathy Currie, Audiologist, Department of Health, Northern Territory Government
  • Dr Sumon Das MBBS, PhD, Senior Research Officer, Menzies School of Health Research
  • Associate Professor Hasantha Gunasekera MIPH (Hons), FRACP, PhD, University of Sydney and Children’s Hospital at Westmead
  • Ms Samantha Harkus,  BA, Dip Aud, MPH, Principal Audiologist, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Services, Hearing Australia
  • Professor David Isaacs MD FRACP FRCPCH, Clinical Professor in Paediatric Infectious Diseases, University of Sydney, Senior Staff Specialist, Children’s Hospital at Westmead
  • Dr Katherine Jarosz, Research Officer, Menzies School of Health Research
  • Associate Professor Kelvin Kong, ENT surgeon, Hunter New England Health
  • Professor Amanda Leach PhD, BAgSc(Hons), MAgSc, Senior Principal Research Fellow, Menzies School of Health Research
  • Associate Professor Deborah Lehmann, MBBS, MSc, Honorary Emeritus Fellow, Westfarmers Centre for Vaccines and Infectious Diseases, Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia
  • Professor Peter Morris, MBBS, PhD, FRACP, Deputy Head, Child Health Division, Menzies School of Health Research and Royal Darwin Hospital
  • Ms Sandra Nelson, Aboriginal Health Practitioner, Department of Health, Northern Territory Government
  • Professor Stephen O’Leary MBBS, PhD, FRACS, FAHMS, ENT consultant, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, University of Melbourne
  • Professor Chris Perry OAM, MBBS, FRACS, Consultant Surgeon, Deadly Ears Programme, Queensland and Royal Children’s Hospital, Brisbane
  • Dr Jarod Pak, Research Officer, Menzies School of Health Research
  • Dr Hemi Patel MBBS, FRCS, FRACS, Consultant Surgeon, Northern Territory Department of Health and Families
  • Professor Jennifer Reath MBBS, FRACGP, PhD, Peter Brennan Chair of General Practice, Western Sydney University
  • Professor Peter Richmond MBBS, MRCP(UK), FRACP, Director, Vaccine Trials Group, Westfarmers Centre for Vaccines and Infectious Diseases, Telethon Kids Institute
  • Dr Jessica Sommer MBBS, BSc, Research Officer, Menzies School of Health Research

Dr Joanne Howes | Research Program Manager – CRE_ICHEAR | Working days Mon, Tue, Thurs

 

(08) 8946 8661 |  joanne.howes@menzies.edu.au |  cre_ichear@menzies.edu.au | www.menzies.edu.au      

PO Box 41096, Casuarina NT 0811, Australia

John Mathews Building, Royal Darwin Hospital Campus, Rocklands Drive, Casuarina NT 0810

 

In the spirit of respect, Menzies School of Health Research acknowledges the people and the Elders of the

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nations who are the Traditional Owners of the land and seas of Australia.