Study investigates link between Indigenous hearing loss and mental health

Published on Friday, 20 October 2023 at 9:00:00 AM

The research project, led by The University of Western Australia’s Professor Dawn Bessarab, was awarded $2.1 million under the Federal Government’s Medical Research Future Fund Indigenous Health Research Grant scheme.Hearing loss is the second highest cause of disability globally, affecting 1.33 billion people and 90 per cent of cases are age-related hearing loss. The National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Survey 2018-19 report found that 34 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 55 years and over reported hearing problems and 82 per cent were found to have hearing loss after they were tested.The collaborative research team will be led Professor Bessarab, Director of UWA’s Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health, jointly supported by Professor Leon Flicker, from UWA Medical School, and Dr Dona Jayakody, from UWA Medical School and Ear Science Institute Australia.

“Studies suggest older Indigenous people have higher levels of hearing loss compared with non-Indigenous Australians,” Professor Bessarab said.  The study will be the first to investigate the effects untreated hearing has on the quality of life and wellbeing of older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

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