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Original Article
November 1976

Comparative Study of Pure-Tone, Impedance, and Otoscopic Hearing Screening Methods: A Survey of Native Indian Children in British Columbia

Author Affiliations

From the Hearing Branch, Workers' Compensation Board of British Columbia, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1976;102(11):690-694. doi:10.1001/archotol.1976.00780160086010

• A survey of 1,109 native Indian children in five communities in British Columbia was conducted to determine incidence of middle ear pathologic features and to compare impedance and pure-tone audiometry as hearing screening methods. Survey teams included a public health nurse, two otologists, and two audiologists.

On ear, nose, and throat (ENT) otoscopic examination, the incidence of middle ear disease requiring treatment was 12%. Disease was most prevalent in the preschool- and primary school-aged children.

Pure-tone audiometry yielded 62% normal and 19% abnormal results. Nineteen percent of the children could not be tested by this method.

Impedance audiometry yielded 54% normal and 38% abnormal results on the stringent criteria used to define the parameters of normality. Eight percent of the children could not be tested.

Since there was a high incidence of middle ear pathologic features in the preschool group of children who could not be successfully evaluated by pure-tone audiometry, it is suggested that further investigation of impedance audiometry be undertaken in order to define parameters that will provide the most reliable referral criteria.