19 January 2021

Very high prevalence of hearing loss among children in Arctic Canada

23% of the children living in Arctic Canada have a hearing loss, a study finds. This is far more than among children living elsewhere in Canada.

A study has found that the prevalence of hearing loss in Canada’s north is almost three times as high as reported among non-indigenous children in Canada.

23% (148) had a unilateral hearing loss or bilateral hearing loss of greater than 20 dB HL. 19% or 124 of the 644 children had hearing loss of 30 dB HL at any frequency in either ear of whom 11 % had a unilateral hearing loss and 7.5% had a bilateral hearing loss.

Mostly conductive hearing loss

Of the 124 children, the vast majority had conductive hearing loss in at least one ear. Seven children had a sensorineural hearing loss or a mixed hearing loss.

Tympanic membrane perforations

Tympanic membrane perforations were found in 37% of children with unilateral hearing loss and 46% with a bilateral hearing loss.

Affect learning and social development

One in five school-aged children were found to have hearing loss that is likely to affect classroom learning and social and emotional development.

In total, 644 children in kindergarten to grade 6 in six communities in Nunavut in Canada participated in the study.

The study, “Hearing loss prevalence and hearing health among school-aged children in the Canadian Arctic”, was published in the International Journal of Audiology.

Sources: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov  and the International Journal of Audiology.

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