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Hearing screenings for preschool children: A comparison between whispered voice and pure tone audiogram tests

Hearing screenings for preschool children: A comparison between whispered voice and pure tone audiogram tests

International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology 130: 109798

This prospective study compares the efficiency of two hearing screening tests performed on preschool children. These tests are known as whispered voice test and pure tone audiometry. Standard hearing screenings were performed on five-year old children using a whispered voice test followed by ENT examination with pure tone audiometry. A total of 827 children were included in the study. Hearing loss (>25 dB) was observed in 5.8% of the evaluated children (n = 48), being bilateral in only 1.6% (n = 13) of these cases. Slight hearing impairment (hearing loss of 16-25 dB) was observed in 25.4% (n = 210) of the children, with 14.5% bilateral cases (n = 120). Interestingly, 62 children (7.5%) were under suspicion of hearing loss by their parents; however, an audiogram revealed the poor consistency of this diagnosis (sensitivity 20.8%, Cohen's kappa coefficient of 0.048). The whispered voice test (6 m distance) throwed a hearing impairment diagnosis in 807 (48.8%) of examined ears; however, its sensitivity was of only 56.5%, with a specificity of 51.6% and Cohen's kappa coefficient of 0.0254 (poor). The hearing loss incidence in preschool children coupled with the low efficacy of whispered voice tests and the parents' unreliability during the hearing impairment survey advocate for a more efficient audiometric hearing screening before beginning school attendance.

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Accession: 069615367

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PMID: 31838332

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