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School hearing screenings have the potential to identify children with hearing impairments not identified at birth. Students with severe intellectual and developmental disabilities, known in US public schools as students with significant cognitive disabilities (SCD), are at higher risk for hearing loss than children without disabilities (JCIH, 2007). Yet this group of students is least likely to participate in mass hearing screenings at school. Their exclusion is in part due to the fact that hearing screenings used in schools often require behavioral responses, which students with SCD may not understand or have the physical ability to perform. When students with SCD do participate, trained screeners may not be able to interpret their responses given their limited and idiosyncratic communication abilities. Otoacoustic emissions screening addresses this challenge by providing an objective measurement of auditory function without requiring behavioral responses, but this technology and qualified audiologists are not widely accessible to schools (Richburg & Knickelbein, 2011). All of this points to a critical need to develop an efficient, accessible risk detection assessment that can identify students with SCD who are at greatest risk of hearing loss and require a comprehensive audiological evaluation.

Contact Person

Nancy Quick, PI

Investigators and Key Personnel

Karen Erickson, Investigator

Primary Funding Source

Junior Faculty Development Award