December 1970

Race as a Variable in Hearing Screening

Author Affiliations

Madison, Wis
From the Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin Medical School, and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Bureau for Handicapped Children, Madison.

Am J Dis Child. 1970;120(6):547-550. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1970.02100110095011

A randomly selected group of 855 children attending schools in the city of Milwaukee was screened for hearing under controlled conditions. Forty-four (5.2%) failed to pass the test. The white children had a significantly higher rate of failure (7.4%) than did the black children (2.7%). The families' economic situation, as judged by whether they live in or outside the core, did not seem to influence the failure rate, although the numbers were too small for statistical comparison. We concluded that apparently race does influence the hearing of children, at least to the extent that it affects their ability to pass a hearing screening test. Statements about the influence of race on threshold acuity can only be made after more precise testing of the hearing.