Preschool Hearing Screening Pass/Refer Rates for Children Enrolled in a Head Start Program in Eastern North Carolina Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2004
Preschool Hearing Screening
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Rose L. Allen
    East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
  • Andrew Stuart
    East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
  • Deborah Everett
    Martin County Community Action, Inc.-Head Start, Williamston, NC
  • Saravanan Elangovan
    East Carolina University
  • Corresponding author: e-mail:
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Special Populations / Early Identification & Intervention / School-Based Settings / Research and Technology / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2004
Preschool Hearing Screening
American Journal of Audiology, June 2004, Vol. 13, 29-38. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2004/006)
History: Received April 15, 2003 , Accepted November 20, 2003
American Journal of Audiology, June 2004, Vol. 13, 29-38. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2004/006)
History: Received April 15, 2003; Accepted November 20, 2003

This 4-year project investigated the pass/refer rates of preschool children in a hearing screening program. Three- and 4-year-old children who attended Head Start centers in rural, traditionally medically underserved, eastern North Carolina participated (n = 1,462). Screening procedures and pass/refer criteria were based on the Guidelines for Audiologic Screening (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association [ASHA], Panel on Audiologic Assessment, 1997). Only 54% (n = 787) of children passed the initial screening (i.e., passed all three of the screening components, which included pure-tone audiometry, tympanometry, and otoscopy), and an additional 22% (n = 323) passed the rescreening, for an overall pass rate of 76%. The initial pass rate was 90%, 71%, and 71% for otoscopy, tympanometry, and pure-tone audiometry, respectively. After the initial screening, 675 children were referred (i.e., 83%, 2%, and 15% for audiologic rescreening, medical evaluation, or both, respectively). About 71% (n = 478) received the recommended evaluation. Follow-up assessment compliance after the rescreening was poor. Slightly more than 10% of children were evaluated. The hearing status of 267 (i.e., 18.3%) children was never determined. Six (i.e., 0.5%) of the 1,195 children who completed the audiologic screening and/or received diagnostic audiologic assessment were confirmed to have hearing loss. Methodological factors that may have contributed to this high refer rate include the use of all screening techniques (pure tones, tympanometry, and otoscopy), procedural considerations in testing protocol and pass/refer criteria, and the demographic characteristics of the children screened.

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