Conductive hearing loss and behaviour problems amongst urban indigenous students

  • Damien Roderick Howard

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    Indigenous people in Australia experience multiple forms of disadvantage. Some of these result in poor educational outcomes, which, in turn, create further disadvantage. While a number of factors have been thought to contribute to the difficulties that Indigenous children encounter at school, the implications of conductive hearing loss have been largely a neglected issue. Conductive hearing loss results from middle ear disease (otitis media).

    Indigenous children experience otitis media in more severe forms, earlier and for longer periods during childhood than do other groups of children in Australia. However, there has been a long‐standing tendency to regard middle ear disease and the related conductive hearing loss as largely a health issue, despite past research which has demonstrated that conductive hearing loss is associated with school behaviour problems, and with poor learning outcomes for many Indigenous students.

    This research project used an embedded case study, mixed methods design to consider issues that are fundamental to the improvement in the educational support available for urban Indigenous students with conductive hearing loss. The project evaluated an informal speech reception game that could be used by teachers and parents to identify the children who may have a current conductive hearing loss. It also examined children’s classroom responses, responses that were often viewed by teachers as behaviour problems, and found that these could be related to students’ current conductive hearing loss.

    The research outcomes provide a better understanding of how conductive hearing loss, in conjunction with background noise levels in classrooms, can shape responses by students that teachers identify as behaviour problems. The resulting framework of knowledge can be drawn on to help teachers working with children with current conductive hearing loss. It provides a base for the development of more effective classroom intervention and behaviour management strategies that cater for the communicative and educational needs of the many Indigenous children with conductive hearing loss.
    Date of Award2006
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMerridy Malin (Supervisor) & Brian Devlin (Supervisor)

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