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Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2011 Dec;165(12):1094-100. doi: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.188.

Improving detection of adolescent hearing loss.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Penn State College of Medicine, 500 University Dr, Mail Code HS83, Hershey, PA 17036, USA. dsekhar@hmc.psu.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To compare a protocol for pure-tone threshold testing, capable of detecting high-frequency hearing loss as indicated by notched audiometric configurations, with the current school rapid hearing screen and to determine typical adolescent noise exposures associated with notched audiometric configurations.

DESIGN:

In conjunction with required school rapid hearing screening, a pure-tone threshold testing protocol was administered, specifically to test hearing at high frequencies. A single audiologist reviewed the results. Students completed a survey assessing their noise exposures.

SETTING:

A public high school in Pennsylvania.

PARTICIPANTS:

Eleventh-grade students.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:

Notched audiometric configurations on the pure-tone threshold test.

RESULTS:

Among 296 participants, 78 (26.4%) failed pure-tone threshold testing compared with 15 (5.1%) failing rapid hearing screening. Among those failing the pure-tone threshold testing, 67 (85.9%) failed due to notched audiometric configurations. Self-reported headphone use with an MP3 player was significantly associated with notched audiometric configurations compared with use of earbuds or stereo connection/docking systems.

CONCLUSIONS:

Pure-tone threshold testing incorporating high frequencies detects adolescent hearing loss more often than rapid hearing screens. Most state hearing screens omit high-frequency testing, potentially missing high-frequency losses, such as noise-induced hearing loss. Because noise-induced hearing loss in particular is preventable and hazardous noise exposures have increased, a reliable school hearing screen to detect high-frequency hearing loss in adolescents is warranted.

Comment in

PMID:
22147776
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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