Most of the children in a larger Dutch study had normal hearing in relation to their age with hearing thresholds of 15 dB or less in both ears. However, as many as 7.8% of the children who had their hearing tested in the study already showed a minor sensorineural hearing loss either as a low-frequency hearing loss or a high-frequency hearing loss that was 16 dB or greater in at least one ear.
In the study, pure-tone air-conduction hearing thresholds were made at 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8 kHz and tympanometry was performed in both ears.
A mild hearing loss is defined as when the most quiet sounds that people can hear with their better ear are between 25 and 40 dB. This means that clinically the children did not show signs of mild hearing loss. But hearing threshold levels of more than 16 dB at that early age show that nearly 8% of the children have some kinds of hearing problems compared to other children of the same age.
The authors of the study found that acute otitis media and lower maternal education seemed to be independent risk factors for sensorineural hearing loss in early childhood.
About the study
The study was made among 5,368 children aged 9 to 11 in the city of Rotterdam between 2012 and 2015 who are part of the Generation R study, which is a population based longitudinal study from fetal life to adulthood.
The study “Prevalence of Hearing Loss Among Children 9 – 11 years Old – The Generation R Study” was published in JAMA Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.
Source: JAMA Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery