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Hearing screening across Europe


The prevention and treatment of communication disorders among children, including the use of e-health and innovative solutions is one of priorities in the field of public health during just started Polish Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Official information can be found here.
In accordance with that, “European consensus on hearing, sight and speech screenings for children beginning the school education” was signed in Warsaw, as one of the main tools for the implementation of the priority. This initiative is a continuation of unique Polish researches in that field started 18 years ago by IFiPS (Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing) in Warsaw . In 2011 only, IFiPS will examine hearing of 200.000 pupils nationwide. Screening programs showed that 20% of primary school pupils suffered hearing disorders. Around 60% of these cases were diagnosed for the first time and led to earlier medical interventions.

Noise exposure prevention
One of the most important factors causing increase of hearing disorders among children is noise.

Prof. Henryk Skarżyński, IFPiS director and chairman of the International Center of Hearing and Speech in Kajetany says:
The youth of today in age of 30 will have hearing of today’s 70-yearsolds. 75% of them may have problems with speech communication in everyday life after 30! This is alarming perspective. The main reason of that situation is ubiquitous noise. For instance, growing problem among secondary education pupils is tinnitus. At the beginning it is temporary trouble (but it can affect even 50% of pupils spending their break in noisy school corridor) and thus ignored. Few know, that after 20 minutes of long noisy break (that suppose to be a rest time!) children’s hearing needs 90 minutes of relative silence to return to its normal, physiological sensitivity. When speaking about noise impact on people, we usually have in mind risk of hearing impairment, but this is only one aspect of noise exposure. We forget that noise affect also work of different human organs and systems. Blood pressure changes, heart rate disorders, hyperactivity, neurosis, metabolism troubles are other noise effects. Thus noise prevention is so important. People should know how to avoid noise at their homes, schools, on their way to work or school, leisure premises etc. They should know how high noise levels are in these places.
Talking about risks connected with noise doesn’t mean that we want to prohibit listening to the music, as some teenagers think, but we ask for more respect to the silence.

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