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A Prevalence Study of Hearing Loss among Primary School Children in the South East of Iran

DOI: 10.1155/2013/138935

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Hearing impairment substantially affects child’s ability to normally acquire the spoken language. Such negative effects create problems for the child not only in terms of communication but also in terms of achievement in school as well as social and emotional growth. The aim of this research is to study the prevalence of hearing disorders and its relationship to age and gender among primary school students of Zahedan, Iran. In this cross-sectional and descriptive analytical study, 1500 students from elementary schools were screened for hearing loss. The selection of samples was performed using multistage sampling method. Primary information was obtained through direct observation, otoscopy, and audiometric and tympanometric screenings. Data was obtained and analyzed via ANOVA test. Statistical analysis showed a significant correlation between the age and the prevalence of middle ear abnormal function. Conductive hearing loss in males and females was 8.8% and 7.1%, respectively. In addition, 1% and 0.7% of male and female students, respectively, suffered from sensorineural hearing loss. Results indicated that 20.2% of students of elementary schools in Zahedan needed medical treatment for their problems. Therefore, it is recommended that the hearing screening of school-age children should be included in annual school health programs in this region. 1. Introduction Hearing loss of even 15 dBHL can create hearing disability in children and consequently impairment in their mental growth [1–3]. Due to the occurrence of secreted middle ear otitis during a critical period (when the senses are emerging and adapting to the environment), these impairments can create various disabilities in children. These disabilities can cause behavioral complications in six functional areas: mental maturity, perception, speech and speaking, cognition and general intelligence, academic achievement, and interpersonal behaviors [4, 5]. One of the other impairments is unilateral hearing loss (UHL) that, if not examined, is normally detected later because one of the ears is healthy. For the impact of unilateral hearing loss on children’s academic achievement, it was found that 30% of children with unilateral deafness lag at least 1.2 years behind their normal peers in terms of academic achievement [6]. Unilateral hearing loss has remarkable effects on academic achievement, language development, and children’s auditory perception [7]. By considering the unpredictable difficulties, the best way to identify them would be individual assessment of children at risk. Due to the lack of

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