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Editorial
Dec 2011

School-Based Hearing Screening Won't Prevent Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Audiology and Speech Language Sciences, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2011;165(12):1135-1136. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.187

School-based hearing screenings were initiated in the 1920s and became a routine educational health service in the 1960s.1 One might say that in terms of routine pure-tone screening in the United States, hearing screening has become the status quo and that little has changed in the past 50 years despite advances in science and technology. There is a widespread lack of standardization, with at least 22 unique combinations of pure-tone test frequencies and presentation levels used in screening programs in the United States.2 School screening programs often are discontinued for older students; even if they are continued, they appear to be ineffective at identifying noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). In this issue of the Archives, Sekhar et al3 confirm the ineffectiveness of a school-based hearing screening program for the identification of NIHL in adolescents. These results have significant implications for the future of hearing screening in this important population.

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