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Am J Audiol. 1999 Dec;8(2):83-92.

Parental perceptions of hearing loss classification in children.

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University of Wyoming, Laramie, USA.


Hearing loss classification scales are commonly used to explain audiometric findings to the parents of children with hearing loss. These scales, however, have little or no scientific basis. In this study, filtered auditory recordings were used to simulate three levels of childhood hearing loss, as defined by the commonly used terms--slight, mild, and moderate. Parents, after listening to each simulation, were asked to provide their impressions. Results demonstrated that: parents defined each simulated loss with terminology representing substantially greater magnitude than the commonly used terms; parents anticipated significantly greater difficulty (p < .05) for each of nine hearing-related tasks when hearing loss was defined by the simulations rather than the classification terms; and parents selected more aggressive management procedures in response to the simulations than to the classification terms. In an additional task, parents estimated degree of simulated hearing loss with percentage values, indicating about 40% greater hearing loss for the three levels of loss compared to values produced by the conventional American Academy of Otolaryngology-American Council of Otolaryngology (1979) percentage formula. The findings indicate that standard methods of classifying hearing loss in audiologic and medical clinics may undermine parents' understanding of their child's hearing loss, causing them to underestimate substantially the magnitude of the loss.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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