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State schools are hear for students

Hear and Say's Matthew Gee checks the hearing of Oakleigh State School student Harvey

Hear and Say's Matthew Gee checks the hearing of Oakleigh State School student Harvey

Some things in life we simply take for granted. Hearing, for instance, is one of our 5 senses and yet for many of us we don’t give it a second thought.

However, for those who experience hearing loss, it can have a significant effect on their lives, especially for students. Hearing loss can affect children’s speech, language, educational development and behaviour.

This week (1–7 March) is Hearing Awareness Week, with World Hearing Day on 3 March—bringing attention to the importance of this sense.

Oakleigh State School in Ashgrove, Brisbane, is one of nearly 200 state schools across Queensland that recognises the value of having regular hearing screenings for its students.

Deputy Principal Brian Marsden says nearly 400 Oakleigh students have gone through the Hear to Learn program, delivered by Hear and Say.

'We’ve had an extremely positive response from parents as it provides a point-in-time test,' Brian said.

'Often many parents have not had a hearing test done since birth, so it’s useful information in tracking a child’s hearing.'

Oakleigh State School was the first to run the screening program (in 2015), and recently Hear and Say returned to the school to celebrate a significant milestone—testing the hearing of its 50,000th student.

Hear and Say Chief Executive Officer, Chris McCarthy, says the Hear to Learn program has identified more than 260 children with hearing loss and/or significant ear health issues.

'Healthy hearing plays a vital role in a child’s development, and some children with undetected problems can experience behavioural issues, poor academic performance, along with social and emotional challenges,' Chris said.

'Even a temporary hearing loss can impact a child’s ability to listen and learn in the classroom.'

'It’s important to note that a child’s hearing may change over time—sometimes without the child, parent or teacher noticing. If left unchecked, the impact can be significant.'

10 warning signs of difficult hearing

  • Parental, caregiver or teacher concern about the child’s hearing ability
  • Speech or language delay or difficulty
  • Inappropriate responses to requests or questions, e.g. child often says “What?” or “Huh?”
  • Difficulty hearing in one or both ears when on the phone
  • Not startling to very loud sounds or asking for the volume to be turned up on electronic devices
  • Unable to detect what direction sounds are coming from
  • Inattentiveness, daydreaming
  • Frequently asks for repetition or has difficulty following directions
  • Watching others for visual cues
  • Academic difficulties and/or behavioural problems

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0) ( )
Last updated
03 March 2020