Effectiveness and efficacy of early detection of hearing impairment in children

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22 Scopus citations


Throughout the industrial world, technology and techniques are now available so that any child, no matter how young or how impaired, can have an accurate and precise assessment of middle ear function, auditory reactivity, and physiological processing of auditory stimuli. Yet, a major problem exists in the lack of timely identification of many children with hearing impairments. Presently, identification systems are primarily proactive and are based on technology. These consist of testing of infants with biological risk factors and the use of hearing screening programs at various times during the first decade of life. The reactive sources of referral appear to be inadequate, an impression that is supported by the data on the delay of diagnosis. These inadequacies appear to be due to a lack of awareness on the part of health providers as to the potential hearing losses; ignorance concerning the ability to diagnose them; and a lack of awareness of the potential of effective intervention. Two additional approaches are suggested which would be added to those already existing for improving the number of children who will have their diagnoses made in a timely fashion. The first of these is educational: health providers should have required and continuing education concerning the effects of hearing loss, the ability to diagnose, and to intervene effectively. A parallel educational program should be provided for the public. The second is the periodic assessment of speech and language from early infancy through the first few years of life for all children. This would enable children with suspected impairments to be referred for definitive testing. Such a screening system would have the advantage of detecting not only hearing impairment but, in addition, other language and speech disorders which have come about from etiologies other than hearing impairment. The language screening would be based on the consequences of the diseases of hearing loss. Available data indicate that such a linguistically based screen would be sensitive to moderate hearing loss at the first year of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-135
Number of pages9
JournalActa Oto-Laryngologica
Issue numberS482
StatePublished - 1991


  • Hearing impairment
  • Language
  • Public health
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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