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The EarTrain program

EarTrain is a free online program for primary health care professionals to identify and treat otitis media and other hearing conditions in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Otitis Media (middle ear infection) can be prevented and treated early with regular ear checks at every interaction with children and families. EarTrain aims to train and empower primary health care professionals to improve ear health in their communities.

The program is delivered across Australia by TAFE NSW and is funded by the Australian Federal Government. EarTrain is a Closing the Gap initiative available until June 2022.

Register

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About EarTrain

Studies have consistently shown that ear disease is more common in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, than in non-Indigenous children.1

If left untreated, this can result in hearing loss.2

The EarTrain program will provide:

  • blended learning, delivered online and through practical skills workshops
  • opportunities to learn and practice the skills required to perform hearing assessments
  • support from audiologists and health professionals, in building skills and confidence
  • the option to earn the nationally recognised Statement of Attainment in Conduct Play Audiometry (HLTAUD002), by successfully completing additional skills workshops and assessments.

Program eligibility

If you are a primary health care professional providing care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, you are eligible to participate in the EarTrain program.

1 AIHW
2 Department of Health

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Skills covered in EarTrain

​​​​​​​The EarTrain program is delivered through an interactive online training platform, with an option to register for practical skills workshops.

During the practical skills workshops, you will learn and practice audiometry skills, and learn to use equipment appropriately.

- About the EarTrain program and Ear health in Australia

- Signs and symptoms of otitis media

​​​​​​​- Anatomy and physiology of the ear

​​​​​​​- Different forms of otitis media and complications

- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural awareness

- Health considerations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

- Community engagement considerations

- Ear and hearing health infection control policy and procedures

- Risk factors and prevention of otitis media

- How to manage ear health in the home

- How to treat otitis media

- Expected responses at different ages

- Types of tests and audiograms

- What to expect

- Case studies

- Remote hearing healthcare

- Play audiometry

- Testing adults’ bone conduction

- Masking and other testing techniques

- Otoscopy safe practice

- Identify ear conditions

- Pneumatic otoscopy

- Using OAE equipment and interpreting results

- Middle ear assessment for children

- Over 6 months of age

- Under 6 months of age

Learn the practical skills to assess and test your clients.

The practical skills workshops are only recommended for primary care health professionals who are involved with the assessment and treatment of ear health.

You will be able to register your interest for practical skills workshops once you have registered for the program.

Practical skills workshop options include:

- otoscopy

- ​​​​​​​pneumatic otoscopy

- ​​​​​​​tympanometry (introduction and 0-6 months)

- ​​​​​​​audiometry (play audiometry, adult audiometry, and sound field testing for children aged 7 months to 3 years)

​​​​​​​- otoacoustic emissions for children aged 0 to 6 months old

- skills refresher (covering audiometry techniques)

- working with an ENT specialist on the diagnosis and treatment of otitis media.

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Program benefits

EarTrain participants have the option to enrol in, and complete, additional assessment towards the nationally accredited unit HLTAUD002 Conduct Play Audiometry.

When you register, you will have the option to select: I am interested in HLTAUD002 Conduct Play Audiometry. You can also request this once you have registered through the online platform.

You will be required to complete online and practical skills workshops, including otoscopy, tympanometry, and play audiometry. You will complete a logbook and be assessed by a TAFE NSW audiometry assessor. The assessment includes conducting play audiometry on ten children, aged 4 to 6 years. The logbook can be completed during a practical skills workshop with the audiometry teachers.

Available study and support services

TAFE NSW is the EarTrain program provider. TAFE NSW has a range of services to support students who need assistance with their studies.

Once you register as an EarTrain participant, you will have access to a range of TAFE NSW support services such as:

  • support from the experienced EarTrain audiometry team
  • local on-the-ground support from the EarTrain support team
  • TAFE NSW Aboriginal support, providing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students with the help and support to achieve their study goals
  • TAFE NSW counselling and career development services to support students with advice and guidance
  • disability support services to assist students with a disability, who require support to successfully engage with and achieve their study aims
  • the state-wide TAFE NSW library network, providing access to the latest digital and print resources and assistance with research and study support needs
  • multicultural services, offering a range of information and assistance for students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

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FAQs

The EarTrain program is available to all primary health care professionals who provide care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The EarTrain program is available Australia-wide.

No, the practical workshops are optional. However, the workshops are recommended for those who are directly involved with the assessment and treatment of ear health. If you wish to enrol in the national unit HLTAUD002 Conduct Play Audiometry, you will be required to complete the practical skills workshops.

No. If you enrol in the nationally accredited unit of competency HLTAUD002 Conduct Play Audiometry, and complete all of the requirements, you will receive a national accreditation.

Be sure to select the option on the registration page, “I am interested in enrolling in the National Unit of Competency, HLTAUD002 Conduct play Audiometry”. If you don’t select this option, there is an opportunity to show your interest through the online platform.

Further information on national ear health programs.

  • Ear Health by the Australian Government – This website provides information, initiatives and resources about Ear Health in Australia.
  • Care for Kids Ears - This website aims to raise awareness of ear disease and hearing loss in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It provides free access to resources for parents and carers, teachers, early childhood groups, and health professionals.
  • PLUMS & HATS – This website provides simple checklists to help health and early childhood workers ask the right questions about bub’s listening and yarning skills.
  • Otitis Media Guidelines: The 2020 Otitis Media Guidelines assist primary health care providers with the delivery of comprehensive, effective and appropriate care for Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander people with otitis media (ear infections).