Australian technology detecting hearing loss in children

Impact: Public policy impacts, Quality of life impacts, Social impacts

Description of impact

Delays in diagnosing and treating hearing loss in children’s first few years of school can be profound and long lasting, undermining their future well-being and economic prospects.

Sound Scouts is an innovative hearing screening application that tests for hearing problems in children through a fun interactive game. Researchers at MUCHE worked alongside the Sound Scouts team collecting data over one year, which was used within an economic evaluation model to estimate whether Sound Scouts was cost-effective.

In November 2018 the Minister responsible for Hearing Services Policy, Hon. Ken Wyatt AM, the Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation, the Hon. Michael Keenan MP and Mr Trent Zimmerman MP, Chair, Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport, announced a $4 million national roll-out of Sound Scouts at Sydney’s Willoughby Public School.

The funding commitment came after our study was able to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of Sound Scouts, finding it delivered a $10 return in benefits for the children and the community, for every $1 spent on the app.

The screening program started in 2019 and will run for up to five years, ensuring that up to 600,000 children have their hearing checked for free using the Sound Scout test.

The funding announcement marked the culmination of eight years of research, development and commercialisation for the Sound Scouts team. Not only was our research translated into meaningful impacts in the lives of children with undetected hearing loss, it demonstrated the efficiency of research application and scaling when researchers collaborate with industry.
Impact date1 Sep 201631 Dec 2017
Category of impactPublic policy impacts, Quality of life impacts, Social impacts
Impact levelBenefit