The Menzies School of Health Research are launching their new 2020 Otitis Media Guidelines for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children (“2020 OM Guidelines”). The OM Guidelines website and mobile app, which is free to download via the Apple App Store or Google Play. These guidelines provide interactive, engaging and culturally appropriate best practice up to date information on the prevention, diagnosis and management of otitis media.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children experience some of the highest rates of otitis media (OM) in the world. If left without appropriate care, OM can cause conductive and/or permanent hearing loss and is associated with language delay, speech problems, high vulnerability on entering school, social isolation, poor school attendance, and low education and employment opportunities. Hearing loss and otitis media rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are well above the level considered a ‘public health crisis’ by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Our mission as a Centre of Research Excellence is to ‘close the gap’ in educational and social disadvantage associated with the high prevalence of OM and conductive hearing loss in Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. The 2020 OM Guidelines have been prepared by a group of experts in the field of ear and hearing health* and bring up-to-date the Department of Health’s “2010 Recommendations for Clinical Care Guidelines on the Management of Otitis Media in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Populations”. The release of the 2020 OM Guidelines for World Hearing Day (3 March 2021) will be accompanied by the publication of our article in the Medical Journal of Australia Leach AJ, Morris P, Coates HLC, et al. Otitis media guidelines for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children: summary of recommendations. Med J Aust 2021; [in press].
The 2020 OM Guidelines mobile app and website have been designed to build on the Guidelines themselves and act as a multimedia tool for primary health care providers, with:
- step by step guide to assist with diagnosis
- user-friendly algorithms to assist with clinical decision making based on diagnosis
- audio recordings in top end Aboriginal languages to assist with communication
- educational videos for health workers, families and children
- otitis media otoscopy image gallery and quiz
- condensed Otitis Media Guidelines with graded evidence and links to publications