Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island children are three times more likely to suffer from otitis media (middle ear infections) and twice as likely to have long-term hearing problems than non-Indigenous children in Australia.1 If left unchecked, ear disease can have devastating impacts throughout a child’s life.4
But limited access to Ear, Nose and Throat (E.N.T.) specialists is a real challenge for communities – especially for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in rural and remote areas. The prevalence of chronic ear disease in such children is nearly ten times greater than the level which the World Health Organisation (WHO) considers a massive public health problem, requiring urgent attention.5
When it comes to chronic ear conditions the disparity is even starker for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in rural and remote areas. The prevalence of chronic ear disease in such children is nearly ten times greater than the level which the World Health Organisation (WHO) considers a massive public health problem, requiring urgent attention.5
Being unable to hear properly can drastically affect a child’s ability to develop speech and language skills, learn and interact with family and friends. It can contribute to behavioural problems and limit future employment opportunities, leading to lifelong challenges.
That’s why checking rural and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s ear health and hearing is so important. During routine health check-ups a health worker, nurse or doctor will examine a child’s ears using an otoscope (ear camera) and if there appears to be an issue will capture an image that can be further analysed.
But Australia faces a shortage of Ear, Nose and Throat specialists which can lead to delays in diagnosis and treatment, particularly if the child lives outside a metropolitan area.
Now a landmark project, called DrumBeat.ai (www.drumbeat.ai), is exploring how artificial intelligence can be used to interpret and triage
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