Closing the Gap on Hearing Outcomes: The Listen to Learn Initiative

Addressing hearing loss is critical to empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to achieve educational outcomes and developmental milestones. The Listen to Learn program is succeeding in closing the gap on hearing outcomes and enhancing the children’s ability to communicate, listen, learn, and thrive at school. There is an increase in the children’s development of language skills and importantly, their connection to culture through yarning and storytelling.

The Listen to Learn program has been developed by Hearing Australia's First Nations Services to build and strengthen partnerships between the health and education sectors and forge new ways of working together to achieve better outcomes.

Co-designed at national, state and local levels, the Listen to Learn program acknowledges self-determination and leadership at all levels to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are in control of the decisions that affect their lives, their health and their wellbeing. The participation of Aboriginal Community Controlled health and education providers has also been critical to the success of the program.

Between September 2022 and December 2023, 145 online professional development sessions were delivered to 1,250 teachers and educators across Australia. Learners reported an increase in confidence in ear and hearing health knowledge and how to apply preventative strategies and inclusive learning practices in their services/classrooms following these sessions.

The pilot service delivery also saw great success - between December 2022 and December 2023, over 4,000 children across 45 Primary Schools and 43 Early Childhood Education Centres had their ear health and hearing screened.

The Listen to Learn team is currently evaluating the program to see how to best support children with ear health and hearing in the future. The professional development modules are still available online for free, allowing teachers and educators to learn when it suits them. These can be accessed through Hearing Australia's Learning Portal

VDEI is proud of our participation in this national initiative, and we acknowledge the valuable contribution the outcomes of this project will make to the field of deaf education.