THE Aboriginal Health Council of WA (AHCWA) has unveiled a unique new health education tool, a giant inflatable ear, believed to be the first of its kind in Australia.
Koobarniny, which means “big” in the Noongar language, was officially launched at the Warlang Festival at Murdoch University last month.
The ear-shaped bouncy castle is 10m wide and 4m high can be used by up to 8 children or adults at a time.
AHCWA chairwoman Michelle Nelson-Cox said the design of Koobarniny featured colour-coded components of the inner and outer ear.
“This inflatable ear will allow people to learn about ear health in a fun and interactive way,” she said.
“AHCWA has developed lots of fun and informative activities, including getting people to label the anatomy of the ear both internally and externally, explore the various parts of the ear and discover how normal hearing works.
“We can also use the ear as a tool to explain the importance of early detection and treatment of ear diseases in children.”
Ms Nelson-Cox said the ear was a light-hearted way to educate people about a serious topic.
“The prevalence of ear disease and hearing loss in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children has a major effect on their speech and educational development, social interactions, employment and future wellbeing,” she said.
“While many children are vulnerable to chronic ear disease, in WA it represents a significant burden for Aboriginal children who can experience their first onset within weeks following birth.
“Aboriginal children can also have more frequent and longer lasting episodes compared to non-Aboriginal children.”
Ms Nelson-Cox said Koobarniny would visit various community events throughout the Perth metro area, and it was hoped it would also travel to the regions next year.