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Hearing Testing in Tonga

Primary-School Hearing Testing Project in Tonga

This Rotary Club of Hampton project was established during discussions between the club’s Chairman for International Service, Peter Read and officials from the Tonga Ministry of Health and community members.  The objective of the is to develop the capacity within Tonga’s health system, through the provision of training and specialist equipment, to undertake regular screening of the hearing of young children within the country.

The initial training program will commence with 5 - 6 year-old children who have recently started Primary School. Following initial activities in Tongatapu, the main island in Tonga where there are 7000 children in this age group, it is expected that the program will be extended in subsequent years to other population centres in Tonga.

The project will be carried out in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Nuku’alofa which is the capital of Tonga with the participation of the Audiology Department from Melbourne University and the Ministry of Health, Tonga.  Melbourne University Audiology Department has been working with Club for several years, supporting the screening of pre-school children in Hampton.

Project objectives are to Identify any hearing problems which may require further attention by specialist medical personnel.  The project is expected to result in significant benefits to the child’s educational and social development. In addition to the children, other beneficiaries of the project will be staff of the Tonga Ministry of Health, particularly the ENT Department of Vaiola Hospital and at the regional Community Health Centres.

Update May 2023

Project on its Way


We are pleased to report that this International “signature’ Project - To provide capacity-building training on ear health education for community nurses and ENT staff at the Vaiola Hospital and screening of the hearing of elementary school students (grade 1 and 2) in Nuku’alofa and Tongatapu in Tonga was approved in January 2023 and has now commenced.

This project, which was under preparation for three years, experienced significant delays and lockdowns in Tonga due to Corona Virus and disruption caused by major volcanic activity and prevented travel and development. The project is being undertaken by the Rotary Club of Hampton and the Rotary Club of Nuku'alofa in Tonga. has been approved by The Rotary Foundation.

This significant project will be implemented over a 12 month period with the initial training phase in Tonga which is now under way. The Project Manager Peter Read is now in Tonga in with two Audiologists from Australia. The training team will be supported and assisted by professional staff from the Ministry of Health Tonga. It is anticipated that over 40 nurses will be trained and over the 12 months, we anticipate that between 2000-3000 students will be screened.

Funding for the project has been raised by Rotary clubs in Victoria, NSW, South Australia, Germany, Tonga, private donors and major support from the Rotary Foundation. Funding also covered purchase of sets of audiology testing equipment and computers to document results which will be used, after training, by teams from the District Health Centres to screen children at their schools. The project is expected to form part of a regular hearing screening program for Tonga.

Teachers, students, parents and the public will also be presented with educational material informing them of the importance of ear health.

Where results of the screening identify hearing problems, the student will be referred to the ENT clinic in the National Vaiola Hospital for further investigation and intervention as necessary.

The program in the field will be managed by a Tongan based audiologist, progress will be closely monitored and the outcome progressively reported.

For further information please contact Peter Read, Chair International Service
Phone :+61 417779976 - Email: peterlread@bigpond.com


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