Australian Hearing is set to double the number of its scholarships for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people interested in audiology to help attract students to the profession.
As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and adults experience ear and hearing problems at a higher rate than the general population1
, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audiologists remains alarmingly low.
The Master of Audiology scholarships offered by Australian Hearing are each valued at $15,000 over a two-year study period. The scholarships are currently offered at Macquarie University NSW, University of Queensland and Flinders University in South Australia. Australian Hearing is now working with more universities to establish more scholarships, which will increase the number from three to six.
Ann Cross, who is Yidinji, is one of fewer than five Aboriginal audiologists estimated to be working in Australia. Ann said she is hoping the scholarship will raise the profile of audiology as a vital and rewarding career and attract more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduates to the profession.
“There are only a handful of Aboriginal audiologists nationwide, and we need to change that,” said Ann, who works as an audiologist and Outreach advisor with Australian Hearing.
“Aboriginal audiologists are well placed to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people hear better and they are strongly needed to help close the gap in Indigenous Australian ear health. Research tells us that consulting a health professional of the same ethnicity improves the client’s involvement in decision-making, outcomes and satisfaction.”2
The scholarships are open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduates who hold a bachelor degree from any discipline and who are accepted into Audiology. Scholarship winners will also have the opportunity to travel to a remote community as part of an Australian Hearing outreach visit. The trip is valued up to $3,000.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are significantly more likely to have ear or hearing problems than non-Indigenous Australians, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. From birth to age 14 years, according to self-report survey data, the rate is almost double that of their non-Indigenous peers. The disparity widens with age.1
“Hearing loss and middle ear disease is extremely common in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and this has lasting health, social and wellbeing implications,” said Mr Kim Terrell, Managing Director of Australian Hearing.
“We really want to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduates to apply for these scholarships. They provide a fantastic opportunity for professional development in an incredibly important part of the health sector.”
Candidates are invited to apply through participating universities. The next application deadline is 4 January 2019 for Flinders University in South Australia.
Australian Hearing has delivered hearing services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities for 30 years under the Australian Government Hearing Services Program. In the 2017‑18 financial year, the organisation assisted more than 10,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and adults.3
Australian Hearing’s specialist audiologists travel to more than 240 communities as part of an outreach program to deliver rehabilitative services to underserviced areas of the country. Over the past five years, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults over the age of 50 seeking hearing help services through Australian Hearing increased on average 13.6 per cent annually.3
About Australian Hearing4
Australian Hearing provides world leading research and hearing services for the wellbeing of all Australians. It is the nation’s largest provider of government funded hearing services to eligible people including children under 26, pensioners, veterans, adults with complex communication needs and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders over 50. With over 70 years’ experience, Australian Hearing is here to help all Australians manage their hearing health, ensuring they stay connected with the world around them.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics: Ear Diseases and Hearing Problems http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/0BBD25C6FF8BDB06CA257C2F001458BF
- Powe, N. R., & Cooper, L. A. (2004). Diversifying the racial and ethnic composition of the physician workforce. Annals of Internal Medicine, 141 (3), 223–4.
- Australian Hearing, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services: 2017/18 in review, 2018. https://hearing.com.au/getattachment/About-hearing/Aboriginal-Torres-Strait-Islanders/Annual-review-of-services-and-progress-(1)/An-end-of-year-review-2017-18.pdf?lang=en-AU
- Australian Hearing, 2017-18 Annual Report, accessed 20 October 2018https://hearing.com.au/getattachment/About-us/Publications/Annual-Reports/Australian-Hearings-Annual-Report-2017-18.pdf?lang=en-AU
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