Hearing Australia embraces NAIDOC Week with celebrations of First Nation culture

Hearing Australia is proud to announce a week-long celebration of the history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the importance of good hearing health, during this year’s NAIDOC Week.

From the unveiling of a dedicated piece of art by Aboriginal artist Davinder Hart, to celebrating the history and culture of its First Nation staff and sharing some amazing stories of the Aunties, kids and health professionals they have the privilege of working with through their community programs along the way.

"NAIDOC Week is an opportunity to give a voice to our First Nation people and clients. Australia has the world’s oldest oral stories, so it’s important to us to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to ensure this important tradition of storytelling and staying connected to family and the community continues," says Kim Terrell, Managing Director, Hearing Australia.

"With the support of government, Hearing Australia is increasing its focus on improving the hearing health of all Australians through the prevention of avoidable hearing loss. We remain steadfast in our commitment to reduce the rate of hearing loss in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children by at least half by 2029."

In 2019-20, Hearing Australia worked with local communities to care for more than 10,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and adults across Australia. To highlight the work done through their hearing loss prevention programs, which are a core focus of the organisation, Hearing Australia commissioned Aboriginal artist Davinder Hart to create a unique design that reflects the importance of celebrating sound and storytelling.

"Davinder has created a piece of vibrant and meaningful artwork that will become a feature of our Hearing Australia brand and displayed throughout our organisation, including on items of our corporate wardrobe," says Kim.

According to the artist Davinder Hart, of the Noongar nation, the design is titled The Spirit of Sound and the story behind the painting is that the three circles represent Music, Dance and Mother Earth.

"Sound is so important to me and to Indigenous people," says Davinder. "Hearing the sounds of the didge, clap sticks and the thump of feet dancing in time and feeling it vibrate through the ground, it transcends the physical and evokes a feeling deep down in my soul of belonging."

"It’s an echo of my ancestors flowing through time and telling the stories of my people. Sound is a way of sharing and passing down knowledge from generation to generation to ensure the survival of a culture deeply connected to the earth. This is why it’s so important that our people take care of their hearing health throughout their lifetime."

Hearing Australia is partnering with communities as part of the Hearing Assessment Program - Early Ears (HAPEE). This program is a result of a $30 million investment by the Australian Government to reduce the long term effects of ear disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children not yet attending full time school can now receive this free service1 across the country, as the program has expanded to care for more communities in urban and regional areas.

Some 3,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have been seen across 93 regional and remote locations since the HAPEE program commenced in July 2019. To date, Hearing Australia has identified 833 children with undiagnosed hearing loss and helped them to get the help they need.

HAPEE uses world leading hearing screening resources developed by the National Acoustic Laboratories(NAL), the research division of Hearing Australia, to identify hearing problems earlier in young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. The Parent-evaluated Listening and Understanding Measure (PLUM) and the Hearing and Talking Scale (HATS have been developed in collaboration with Aboriginal health and early education services.

Hearing Australia is also evolving it's approach towards how they interact with First Nation communities, so that they can further engage and connect with them in the increasingly important digital space. Using tools like telehealth services and focussed social media channels to raise awareness of the importance of having good hearing health for life.

Davinder says, "I encourage everyone to care for and value their hearing and to reach out if you need help so you can celebrate the joy of sound and stay connected to your loved ones and what matters most."

If you or your loved one would like to talk about your hearing health2, call Hearing Australia on 134 432, pop into your closest Hearing Australia centre or visit hearing.com.au.

ENDS

1. The free service means the children can receive a full hearing assessment and follow up assessments as needed.

2. Conditions apply under the Australian Government Hearing Services Program.

Media enquiries:
Vicky Saunders-Flaherty
Hearing Australia
02 9412 7024 | 0436 522 196
Vicky.saunders-flaherty@hearing.com.au

 

ADDITIONAL MEDIA INFORMATION

NAIDOC WEEK CELEBRATIONS

  • NAIDOC Week celebrations will kick off with a handover of the artwork from artist Davinder Hart. We’ve also got some great stories to share of First Nation families who have had positive outcomes in relation to their hearing health after being treated though our vital outreach programs. Keep an eye on Hearing Australia socials and website to catch all the NAIDOC Week activities and share with us in celebrating what Always Was, Always Will Be.

ARTIST DAVINDER HART

  • Davinder Hart is an Indigenous artist who was born in Perth, Western Australia. His family roots connect from Bibbulmun and Katanning in the south west region of the Noongar people.
  • He travelled to Ayers Rock Resort in early 2013 where he became an Indigenous activities presenter showcasing his culture to the guests that arrived from around the world. Running workshops such as boomerang and spear throwing, bush tucker talks, didgeridoo playing and traditional dance.
  • Davinder is strongly connected to the Ngemba people in the west of New South Wales. They have provided him with identity and ownership for his culture by going out bush and practicing old traditional ways.
  • With knowledge passed down from his uncles and aunties he’s able to tell stories through his paintings. His paintings reveal the traditional lessons that show the morals, ethics and values as well as his own personal lessons along his cultural journey.
  • Since 2016, Davinder has been residing in Port Douglas, Queensland with his partner and their baby girl. Davinder has been developing successfully as an Indigenous artist and his unique art has been selling both within Australia and overseas in places such as the UK, France and USA.
  • Davinder would like to acknowledge his uncle Waylon Boney and Grandfather Paul Gordon for their knowledge passed down.

MORE ABOUT HAPEE

  • Hearing Assessment Program - Early Ears, or HAPEE, was developed with Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service representatives, the Department of Health, key people from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander hearing health sector and Hearing Australia.
  • With $30 million in funding from the Australian Government, the HAPEE program aims to reduce the long-term effects of ear disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, who have significantly higher rates of hearing loss than non-Indigenous Australian children, most commonly due to middle-ear infection, otitis media.
  • Run on a national basis with links to existing community programs through Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, the HAPEE program has conducted more than 3,100 diagnostic hearing assessments in 93 communities since it began in 2019.

MORE ABOUT PLUM AND HATS

  • World leading hearing screening resources have been developed by the National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL), to identify hearing problems earlier in young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
  • NAL, the research division of Hearing Australia, has co-developed the Parent evaluated Listening and Understanding Measure (PLUM) and the Hearing and Talking Scale (HATS) in collaboration with Aboriginal health and early education services. With a focus on First Nations infants and young children, these tools are the only resources of their kind in Australia and they are available for free on plumandhats.nal.gov.au.
  • The tools are available to help identify children with hearing loss so they can get the hearing help they need.
  • NAL has created the website at plumandhats.nal.gov.au for families and health workers to learn about PLUM and HATS and download the resources. Health workers can also complete the PLUM and HATS assessments with parents online. The online version is scored automatically and a report with recommendations can be downloaded. The website also has a portal that provides training for using the tools. In addition, communication material is available to increase community awareness and understanding of the resources.

About Hearing Australia

For over 70 years, Hearing Australia has been helping Australians rediscover the joy of sound. Its purpose is to provide world leading research and hearing services for the wellbeing of all Australians. Hearing Australia operates in 168 permanent hearing centres as well as visiting sites across Australia and is the nation’s largest provider of government-funded hearing services for children, young adults up to 26, eligible adults with complex communication needs, some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, pensioners and veterans.

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