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Children living in rural areas of India more often suffer hearing loss than children living in urban areas. In a study among Indian school children, researchers screened 1030 urban children and found that 6 per cent of them suffered from some kind of hearing loss compared to nearly 33 per cent in the rural group of 640 children. All the children were aged between 12 and 14 years. The difference might be attributed to the lower socio-economic status of the rural population often leading to malnutrition, poorer health education and inadequate medical facilities which all increase the risk of hearing problems.

The degree of hearing loss also varied between the two groups. About 27 per cent of the children from rural areas suffered from moderate hearing loss as compared to approximately 3 per cent among the urban children. 6 per cent of the rural children and about 2 per cent of the urban group had mild hearing loss. A hearing loss of 26-40 dB was labelled mild and a loss of 41-55 dB was considered moderate. Children with a hearing loss of more than 55 dB were not included in the study.

For both groups the most common cause of hearing impairment was otitis media.

Source: "Incidence of Hearing Impairment among Rural and Urban School Going Children: A Survey", Indian Journal of Pediatric 1998 vol. 65

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