A study among Korean students has found that 12.7% of 7th-grade students and 10.4% of 10th-grade students fall into the World Health Organization’s category of hearing loss. When the high frequencies are included, 17.9% of the 7th graders and 16.5% of 10th graders belong to the category of possible noise-induced hearing loss, the study showed.
The study was made by the Korean Index of ENT Specialties (KIES) and was based on its survey of 3,013 Korean middle and high school students.
In contrast, studies conducted in 2010 identified only 5.4% of elementary, middle, and high school students with hearing loss. School examinations performed in the same year put the figure at an even lower 0.47%, indicating the hearing tests fall far from actual numbers.
Examinations and tests
The study, conducted from February 2016 to February 2017, consisted of 63 ENT (ear, nose, throat) specialists who conducted direct examinations, and professional audiologists who followed up by testing students at seven frequencies, including high-to-low frequency from 500 to 8000 Hz.
The study also included portable soundproof equipment along with verified hearing test equipment, not present in school examinations.
Affects student’s performances
“Hearing impairment can affect a student’s academic performance and can continue to create barriers to communication in social life and the workplace,” said Professor Oh Seung-ha of Seoul University, Chairman of the ENT Hearing Loss Reduction Project.
“The social cost of neglecting this problem can reach up to 72.6 billion won ($63.6 million).”
The study was published in Korea Biomedical Review.