Our HAPEE Stories

Matt’s Story - HAPEE Audiolgist

 
When Matthew Tanti first travelled to Broken Hill to provide outreach audiology services to the local community, he instantly knew he’d found his passion.
 
At the time, he was working part time in a Hearing Australia Hearing Centre but admits he’s not a desk-job kind of person and working in community was something he had wanted to do for quite some time.

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“That first week in Broken Hill just grabbed at my heart,” says Matt. “And I took on a full-time position with the program.

“I really love going into communities, engaging with the people, learning about the culture, meeting and playing with the kids. It’s my job to do the hearing tests on the kids, so it’s really important that I earn their trust and they feel comfortable with me.”
 
He explained that, while the tests are safe and don’t hurt at all, not every child is open and willing to engage.
 
“My approach is to spend some time with them and try, as much as possible, to see the situation through their eyes.
 
“Recently I needed to test a kid who was anxious about the process and didn’t want to come out from under the table. So, I laid down on the ground with him until he was comfortable and ready to go.
 
“Showing the kids how the equipment works, using magic blocks and letting them pretend to test their teachers’ ears always helps to lessen any anxiety,” says Matt.
 
“The trick is to make it fun for the kids, so it’s more like a game than a medical appointment. That’s particularly important when the tests take place in a medical centre because kids sometimes associate that with vaccination and things that may not be as simple or as comfortable for them.”
 
HAPEE audiologists also need to build trust with parents and carers as they are essential to the hearing health assessment process and any follow-up care and support.
 
“Parents are the experts when it comes to their own kids,” says Matt. “I need them to tell me all about their kids and any issues they have.
 
“I try to make sure they are comfortable asking me questions about the process, the results, or anything else they don’t fully understand.”
 
Many children with ear infections or poor hearing don’t show any symptoms and others might just appear to be a tiny bit naughty when they have problems.
 
“You can never really be sure until you look and test,” says Matt. “That’s why it is so important to get all kids checked early and often.”
 
During their community visits, HAPEE’s audiologists calibrate the equipment used for hearing tests in the medical centres to make sure it works properly and fix it if needed.
 
“It’s an integral part of the service we offer to raise awareness of ear and hearing health, test and treat kids, train organisations and communities and help them to function more independently,” says Matt.
 
HAPEE audiologists visit a diverse range of communities and test and support people in different settings such as medical centres, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, childcare centres, and pre-schools.
 
“I’ve even done a hearing appointment from the back of a car,” says Matt.
 
“What’s important is that we reach the kids that need our services however and wherever we can. We go to so many different places Across Australia, sometimes where no-other services go, and we meet people from many different cultures.
 
“It really is a privilege that I don’t take for granted.”

 
 
 
HAPEE provides free* hearing health support and advice to parents and carers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0 – 6 who do not yet attend full-time school.
 



 

 
*The Hearing Assessment Program is an initiative of the Commonwealth Department of Health. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children not yet attending full time school are eligible to be seen. All services provided under this program are free of charge. A hearing check includes a number of age-appropriate tests of hearing and middle ear function.