Signs of hearing issues in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, ear troubles like ‘Glue Ear’ or infections are common but they can be tricky to identify, especially if your child isn’t in any pain. Regular ear checks and knowing the signs of hearing problems are important steps in your child’s health.

If left untreated, ear problems can cause permanent ear damage, and may also affect your child's speech and language development.

Here are some tips to help you keep an eye on your child's ears and hearing.


If your child is not learning to speak, it may be a sign of a hearing problem. Here's a guide to what children can generally do at certain ages:

  • At 6 months: look towards sounds

  • At 18 months: Say simple words such as ‘Ma-ma’

  • At 3 years: Say short sentences: ‘It’s a dog’

  • At 5 years: Be easily understood by others


If your child does any of the following, it may be a sign of a hearing problem:

  • Is regularly unable to hear sounds that you can

  • Says ‘what?’ a lot

  • Watches your face to hear you


Do they:

  • Always have a runny or crusty nose? Or runny, crusty or smelly ears?

 The Good Hearing Book is a practical guide for parents and carers of children with ear troubles. It includes what to look out for, how to help young children learn language, when to get a hearing test and when to think about hearing aids. 

Click here to download the Good Hearing Book.

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