When the Healthy Ears team fly to the Pilbara, they know they’ll be hard at work helping kids with ear conditions – but they’re also tasked with an interesting challenge: making ear care fun.
For audiologist Samantha Gould, the educational challenge was the best part of her time in regional towns Punmu and Jigalong. Samantha accompanied fellow audiologist Selina Moyle and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) specialist Dr Anton Hinton-Bayre in February.
“It was a rewarding experience being part of the team – I learned a lot on both trips. You often don’t get to work in a remote, busy clinic like that, and Selina and Anton were great,” Samantha says.
The group worked from a local clinic for two days in each community, checking almost 80 kids’ ears, providing treatments where they could, and referring cases that needed further investigation, surgery or specialised equipment.
When the kids had all been seen by the audiologists and were in the queue for an ENT review, Samantha had the chance to sit with them, reading books about ears.
“The main book we read is called My Ears. It’s about two kids, Kathy and Ernie, who have sore ears and go to get them checked. The kids like it because its’s a bit fun, but it’s also a chance for us to help educate.”
Samantha also encouraged the kids to explore their curiosity about how their ears work.
“We also did video otoscopy (a check of the ear canal and eardrum with a video feed), so the children could see what their ear looked like on screen. The kids are really curious, so they all took turns watching while each otoscopy was performed.”