Child Care and Early Education Research Connections

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A program review of Head Start and elementary school hearing screenings

The purpose of this study was to review quality benchmarks from hearing screening programs conducted at local Head Start centers and preschool and elementary schools associated with our university training programs. Method: Hearing screening results from 6,043 children were reviewed. Hearing screening was accomplished using either distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs) at Head Start centers, pure-tone audiometry at preschool and elementary schools, and tympanometry at all settings. All children who did not pass the initial screening were screened a second time. Referrals were made if a child did not pass the automated DPOAE pass criteria for one ear, failed at least one pure-tone frequency for one ear, or had abnormal tympanometry in one ear. Results: Refer rates were 10.9% for DPOAEs and 11.4% for pure-tone audiometry and tympanometry, with an overall refer rate of 11%. Conclusions: Our hearing screening program review yielded refer rates that are similar to other published reports for this population. Presently, there are no published target refer rates for hearing screening programs in preschool and elementary schools. Although we were not able to complete other program quality benchmark indicators including sensitivity and specificity, these data may support benchmarks for other hearing screening programs. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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