As part of its response to the Ontario Ministry of Health recommendation that communication disorders in preschool children be identified, the Hamilton-Wentworth Department of Public Health Services performed hearing screening tests on all preschool children in child care centres. Parents of children who had failed the hearing screening test were recommended to take their child to their family physician for further assessment. Out of 1,844 children tested between September 1990 and February 1991, 35 children failed the pure-tone audiometry test administered by nurses. A telephone follow-up interview determined that 26 children with screening test failures had received some medical follow-up. Eight children had a confirmed hearing problem; of these, five were newly diagnosed with a hearing problem, all resulting from fluid build-up in the middle ear. Three children were treated, with two having improved hearing. Of the two children not treated, one was reported to have improved hearing. As with other recently reported preschool hearing screening programs, this study raises doubts about the usefulness of such programs.
Comment In: Can J Public Health. 1993 Sep-Oct;84(5):3528269388