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Screenings and the Increasing Prevalence of Hearing Loss

Screenings and the Increasing Prevalence of Hearing Loss

August 27, 2015 In the News

Prieve et al (2015) report their review of 18 studies (of 376 identified) published between December 2012 and April 2013. They report that “it is important to screen school-aged children for hearing loss because the estimated prevalence of hearing loss in school-aged children is at least double that in newborns….”

They also report that up to 90 percent more children are diagnosed with hearing loss before 9 years old, than are diagnosed as newborns. Prieve et al report in a recent study of more than 35,000 children that it was determined the rate of children with permanent hearing loss as identified after the first year of primary school was 3.7 children per 1,000. The prevalence of moderate or worse hearing loss (after the first year of primary school) was 1.5 per 1,000. However, only 0.9 per 1,000 were identified by newborn hearing screening. That is, fewer than 60 percent of the children with moderate or worse hearing loss (after the first year of primary school) were identified through newborn hearing screenings.

The authors note in general, mild hearing losses are most likely to be missed, “it is expected that this percentage (of children not identified) would be even higher when considering hearing loss of all severities….” 

Prieve et al report that routine hearing screenings are warranted at preschool, elementary, and secondary school years “given the increasing prevalence of hearing loss throughout childhood and the negative consequences associated with it….” With regard to otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) versus pure-tones (PTs), they state both PTs and OAEs provide “reasonable screening accuracy” in the identification of hearing loss in school age children. However, in some cases, PTs were judged to be the better screening tool.

For More Information, References, and Recommendations

Prieve BA, Schooling T, Venediktov R, Franceschini N. (2015) An Evidence-Based Systematic Review on the Diagnostic Accuracy of hearing Screening Instruments for Preschool and School-Age Children. American Journal of Audiology 24(6):250-267.

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