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January 02, 2007

Teachers fail to detect hearing loss half of the time

Rather than offering universal hearing screening for children, Chile's school health programme relies on teachers to identify hearing loss in preschoolers. But relying on the perceptiveness of the teachers is clearly insufficient.

According to a study carried out by the University of Chile, the teachers fail to detect 50 percent of the actual instances of hearing loss in preschoolers.

The study included 87 children between 4 and 5 year-olds. Fifteen percent of the children had hearing problems, and of those, only 50 percent were identified as hearing impaired by their teachers. One possible reason for this low discovery rate is the lack of understanding among the teachers of the correlation between language problems and hearing impairment.

Based on the outcome of the study, researchers recommended that Chile institute an objective universal hearing screening programme for the detection of hearing loss in preschool children.

Source: “Problemas auditivos en preescolares, según estudio audiológico y percepción de educadores: Región Metropolitana”, December 2005. Rev. chil. pediatr., jun. 2006, vol.77, no.3, p.247-253.

Read more:
Hearing screening of infants

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