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30th January 2020 Latest News

Fighting for health in the north

Audiology booth at Lyell McEwin Hospital

Audiology services expand to benefit communities.

A state-of-the-art audiology booth installed at Lyell McEwin Hospital (LMH) thanks to funding from The Hospital Research Foundation has helped address the hearing issues of more than 500 children and adults in the northern region since its opening in January 2018.

More recently, the booth has been instrumental in supporting new hearing-related services including the Aboriginal Paediatric Hearing Screening Project (a ‘Close The Gap’ initiative) and audiology clinics in substitution for Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) clinics to help decrease waiting times for patients presenting with hearing related issues.

Linda Nimmo, Director Clinical Operations Allied Health for the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network, said the purpose-built facility is improving assessment pathways for Aboriginal children under eight years old as part of Close The Gap.

“Children who do not pass the community based hearing screening conducted by Aboriginal Health Workers are then referred on for a detailed audiology assessment within the LMH booth,” Linda said.

“We started the project in late January 2019 and to date the audiologist has assessed 75 children, with 25 identified as having conductive hearing loss who can now receive further help.

“It’s been good to work with the Aboriginal Health Workers and build relationships with clients to give them a more definitive pathway for management of any significant hearing issues.”

In a separate project, both adults and children on the ENT waiting list have been fast tracked for audiology assessment within the booth if their referral meets certain criteria relating to hearing issues.

“Since we started this project in late April, we’ve been able to identify more than 200 patients who could be seen within the booth, with 127 of those taking up the opportunity to come in,” Linda said.

“About 45% per cent of these have now been able to be discharged without seeing the ENT, while for the others we’ve been able to clarify their issue and list them for an audiology review or ENT consult.

“It has helped reduce patient waiting lists and free up ENT consultant time for management of higher acuity patients.”

Linda said the purpose-built audiology booth had been instrumental in helping the hospital deliver best-practice in hearing assessments for adults and children since it opened in January 2018.

“I don’t think we would have been able to provide the audiology service without the booth – you really need a state-of-the-art booth built specifically for the purpose.

“We’re extremely grateful to The Hospital Research Foundation for funding the facility. It has enabled us to expand the service and support the work the ENTs do to improve health outcomes in the community.”