The value of Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) hearing screening in early childhood educational settings has been well documented in a series of articles
. A more recent publication in Pediatrics (from the American Academy of Pediatrics) further demonstrates what OAE screening can bring to children in health care settings.
In this study, three federally funded clinics conducted OAE hearing screening on 842 children, 0-5 years of age, and four additional older siblings. The screening was done by Medical Assistants who were trained to use OAE equipment.
Health Care Providers then provided middle ear evaluation and treatment, and children not passing an OAE Rescreen were referred to a Pediatric Audiologist for a full evaluation. As a result,
three children were found to have permanent hearing loss.
The authors conclude that the rate of identification of children with hearing loss was similar to that found when OAE screening was conducted with children 0-3 years of age in educational settings.
Consider the value of bringing this article to the attention of health care providers in your area.
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It may be a viable option for them to purchase equipment and have Medical Assistants or Nurses trained to do the OAE screening. You may also want to direct them to the ECHO training materials, which are appropriate for screeners working in a variety of settings.