A recent highly cited publication, using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), concluded that the prevalence of childhood hearing loss in the United States is increasing (Shargorodsky, Curan, Curhan, & Eavey, 2010). This article examines the accuracy of that conclusion based on additional data from three nationally-representative surveys of childhood health. Using data from NHANES, the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), and the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), logistic regression was used to assess trends from audiometry-measured and parent-reported childhood hearing loss.
In contrast to prior research, the results were highly conflicting. NHANES suggested both an increasing (audiometry) and decreasing (parent-report) trend, NSCH (parent-report) suggested no trend, and NHIS (parent-report) suggested a possible increasing trend. Given the disagreements among these federally funded national surveys, administrators and policy makers should be very cautious about conclusions drawn from these surveys regarding prevalence and trends related to childhood hearing loss in the United States.
Barrett, T. S. & White, K. R. (2016). Prevalence and Trends of Childhood Hearing Loss Based on Federally-funded National Surveys: 1994–2013. Journal of Early Hearing Detection and Intervention, 1(2), 8-16. DOI: 10.15142/T3P88B
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