Research that uses dancing as a novel treatment for auditory processing conditions in school-aged children is one of many ways UWA Audiology epitomises the theme of World Hearing Day 2023, Ear and Hearing Care for All, this Friday 3 March.
The unique research is led by audiology lecturer Dr Robyn Choi, from The University of Western Australia and Telethon Kids Institute, and is funded by Telethon 7. It is designed to treat children with Central Auditory Processing Disorder in a more fun and inclusive way and mitigate its onset.
Between two and seven per cent of the general population have Central Auditory Processing Disorder – an estimated 30,000 children in WA – with the number increasing to 30-40 per cent when you include co-morbid conditions such as reading difficulties, learning difficulties and ADHD.
“My research is helping to make sure these children get appropriate treatment that is low-cost, fun and inclusive, so that ultimately they can enjoy a good quality of life and social participation,” Dr Choi said.
“The use of rhythmic exercise with music as our novel treatment option is based on the fact that movement with music combines top-down and bottom-up intervention strategies, which is critical for processing sounds. It’s why many dancers have superior auditory processing skills.
“Current treatment options for Central Auditory Processing Disorder only utilise either top-down or bottom-up strategies. By responding to music in a specific movement pattern, we believe that we are strengthening the auditory pathway, as well as improving children’s memory, physical health and mental health.”
World Hearing Day’s 2023 theme of inclusivity and access is also being realised through the provision of free hearing tests at various locations across Perth.
Provided by Ear Science Institute Australia, the hearing tests will be carried out by students in UWA’s Master of Clinical Audiology course, one of only six university audiology courses offered in Australia and the only one in WA.