22 October 2009

One in three school-children with hearing problems

As many as 35 percent of school-children in Argentina suffer from hearing damage, according to a recent study.

Tests conducted among 450 pupils ages 6 through 13 years in Argentina found that more than one third of them suffered from some degree of hearing loss. This prevalence is much higher than previously believed. In general, data from earlier similar studies indicated a prevalence of 10 to 14 percent of school aged children with hearing difficulties.

Researchers asked the children to listen and repeat sentences while the environmental noise was being gradually increased. When environmental noise increased by 15 dB, half of the children presented difficulties. The hearing threshold found in these children averaged 47 dB, which is defined as a moderate hearing loss.

The speech intelligibility test in noisy environments was further confirmed by speech and tonal audiometries.

Possible reasons

Some possible reasons for this high incidence of hearing loss among children in Argentina may include poorly healed colds leading to otitis, enlarged adenoids in the pharynx and listening to loud music on personal stereos, according to the researchers.

About the study

The study included 450 children from six different private schools in Buenos Aires City and its province from all social groups. It was carried out by Conicet, an Argentinean public science and technology research organization, and published in Logopedia Foniatría y Audiología, the Spanish journal of speech therapy and audiology.

Sources: www.audioprotesistas.org,  www.diariolarepublica.com.ar

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