• Project status: Active
The Anchor Logo

Australian National Child Hearing health Outcomes Registry

Building on newborn hearing screening success: towards national standards & data management.

Photograph taken by Kieren Topp.

ANCHOR Logomark Primary FullColour

Building on newborn hearing screening success: towards national standards & data management.

Photograph taken by Kieren Topp.

ANCHOR Logomark Primary FullColour

Building on newborn hearing screening success: towards national standards & data management.

Photograph taken by Kieren Topp.

ANCHOR Logomark Primary FullColour

Overview    

Australian children who are born deaf or hard of hearing are some of the best supported in the world through established universal newborn hearing screening (UNHS), diagnosis, device provision, early intervention and medical services.

However, there is no mechanism to measure progress and track outcomes on an individual or population level, nor is there a system to document hearing health needs for children. There is an urgent need to systematically capture data to:

  1. Ensure the government’s current investments into UNHS and child hearing health interventions are improving outcomes.
  2. Address inequity in service access, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and vulnerable children, to ensure no deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) child ‘slips through the cracks’.
  3. Track outcomes of adhoc postnatal screening, responding to the World Health Organization’s recent recommendations.

This grant aims to develop the prerequisites for a database for DHH children aged zero to 18 years, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and children from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds in Victoria and Queensland, as a prototype that can be rolled out nationally. Its specific aims are to:

  1. Map Australia’s hearing-specific services & datasets nationally and by state.
  2. Bring datasets into a single system (Victoria and Queensland), linked to universal administrative datasets.
  3. Develop a national Core Outcomes Set to measure what matters to Australian children, families, services and funding agencies.
  4. Evaluate the costs and benefits of developing and maintaining ANCHOR.
  5. Provide proof-of-concept answers to key research questions (see below).

Key research questions

  • Do children with UNHS-detected mild or unilateral hearing losses benefit from amplification or early intervention?
  • Should we re-screen for hearing loss later in childhood?
  • Can we achieve outcomes equity, especially in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and CALD settings?
  • What outcomes matter to Australian children, families, services, and funding agencies?
  • Is a whole-population data system possible?
child in hospital

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