Australian technology detecting hearing loss in children

Impact: Policy impacts, Quality of life impacts, Society 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 tablet application incorporating the science of a hearing test in a fun interactive game. In 2017 researchers at MUCHE worked alongside the Sound Scouts team, collecting data that was used in an economic evaluation model, to estimate whether Sound Scouts was cost-effective.

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.

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

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

The funding announcement marked the culmination of eight years of research, development and lobbying by the Sound Scouts team. Not only was our research translated into meaningful impacts in the lives of children with undetected hearing loss, it was an element in a broader project that demonstrated the efficiency of research application and scaling when researchers collaborate with industry.
Impact date1 Sept 201631 Dec 2017
Category of impactPolicy impacts, Quality of life impacts, Society impacts
Impact levelBenefit