Projects per year
The majority of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (hereafter referred to as “Aboriginal”) people live in urban centres. Otitis media (OM) occurs at a younger age, prevalence is higher and hearing loss and other serious complications are more common in Aboriginal than non-Aboriginal children. Despite this, data on the burden of OM and hearing loss in urban Aboriginal children are limited. This project was initiated following a request from urban Aboriginal people who felt the focus on more remote communities often meant urban communities were forgotten. This paper describes the development of an urban Aboriginal birth cohort study of OM that is culturally secure, outlines the process of community consultation and establishment of an Aboriginal Community Advisory Group to provide cultural governance, and presents preliminary results. Djaalinj Waakinj is an ongoing study being conducted in Perth, Western Australia, on Noongar Boodja (country). Aboriginal researchers visit people’s homes to collect sociodemographic and environmental data at enrolment of babies aged <3 months; otoscopy and tympanometry are conducted by an Aboriginal research assistant or a nurse at ages 2–4, 6–8 and 12–18 months, and full audiological assessment conducted at 9–12 months. To date, 125 participants have been enrolled; 39% of 71 children aged 2–4 months and 52% of 44 children aged 6–8 months had evidence of OM. To our knowledge, this is the first prospective cohort study aiming to determine the prevalence and risk factors associated with OM in Aboriginal infants residing in an urban area.