The Earbus program is a Mobile Children's Ear Clinic which coordinates services to children who are at-risk for middle ear disease. This coordinating clinic is operated using a bus or 'earbus' to drive to different locations to provide the services. This Earbus is easily identifiable to communities and a physical bus assists in raising awareness of the program.
The Earbus is driven and operated by a trained hearing and ear screener. This screener has 6 weeks of intensive training before commencing screening and has ongoing support and training during the year.
Although the Earbus travels to different places such as kindis, playgroups and schools, the services provided by the Earbus program is actually much larger than just those offered on the ear bus. The services involve not only an initial screening for ear and hearing health (a comprehensive screening of each part of the auditory pathway) but also follow up services at regular periods throughout the year. Children identified as high risk, as they are unable to pass a routine hearing or ear screening, are seen at least 4 times a year so that their ear status can be monitored.
In addition to these 4 visits, children who need to see a GP receive these services through the Earbus program. The program aims to have children seen by a GP within 1 week of initial screening. Children and parents can attend their own GP or can receive GP services from the Earbus GP. The Earbus GP coordinates treatment if needed together with the educational setting in which the child is seen. This is done so that schools become aware of which children require extra assistance in the classroom because they are unable to hear.
It is always preferable that parents are present during the GP visit.
Children who need ongoing care or follow up may receive this service through the Earbus GP, Earbus Nurse Practitioner or Earbus Aboriginal Health Worker. All of these professionals may be found on the Earbus or may travel separate to the actual bus.
The Earbus GP is able to refer children to an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialist working with the Earbus program. ENT clinics are held monthly for children receiving services under the Earbus program. Each child's progress is monitored and tracked to ensure that no child falls through the treatment pathway. Every child has the right to healthy ears and hearing!
What is an Ear bus?