CHC Advocates for NYC Students

As of 2009, New York City became the only school district in New York State that did not have a hearing screening program in place for any of its 1,100,000 children enrolled from kindergarten through 12th grade. At the Center for Hearing and Communication we believe that this is a situation that must be remedied, and we are seeking funding to conduct a study to convince the Department of Education leadership that the complete elimination of this program is putting many NYC children at risk for academic failure.

We have spoken out before about the danger of not screening for hearing loss in schools; while universal hearing screening detects the majority of permanent hearing loss present at birth (about 5-6 children  per 1,000), by entry into elementary school it is estimated that another 4-5 will develop a permanent hearing loss. Without a school hearing screening program in place, there is no “safety net” in which these children can be identified.

Hearing Loss in Teens Linked to Noise Exposure

The risk does not stop at entry into school. A study conducted by researchers at Penn State University this year showed that approximately 3% of 11th graders screened were found to have a previously undetected high frequency hearing loss, thought to be related to loud noise exposure. There are approximately 71,500 11th graders in NYC which suggests that about 2000 may have undetected hearing loss.

An effective school hearing program would identify hearing loss in young children so as to not set them off on a course of academic failure and an increased need for special education services. It would also identify later onset of hearing loss in adolescents due to noise exposure and provide an opportunity for education to this population regarding how to prevent this from happening. This situation in NYC must be remedied and Center for Hearing and Communication staff will continue to advocate for this program to be reinstated.

Let me know what you think!

Read a related story based on research out of Penn State College of Medicine.