Hearing screening in children in rural districts of Zachodniopomorskie voivodeship.

On 17th June 2016, a press conference was held dedicated to screening hearing examination program conducted among children from primary schools in rural districts (gminas) of Zachodniopomorskie voivodeship. Results of this screening program presented on the conference showed that even one child in five in the Zachodniopomorskie voivodeship may be at risk of hearing problems. Screening results were by 2.2 percentage points worse than in 2010. In the press conference participated Prof. Henryk Skarżyński, director of the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing, Prof. Krzysztof Kochanek, scientific secretary of the Institute, Dr. Anna Dąbrowska – program coordinator for Zachodniopomorskie voivodeship. Representing the Partner of the Program – KRUS was Jan Krzysztof Górski, director of the KRUS Regional Branch in Koszalin.   

Screening program had included 2559 children from 126 schools in 49 districts of Zachodniopomorskie voivodeship. – Examination of one child takes about 5 minutes; our team had examined hundreds of children. Organization of such a large program had become feasible with application of telemedical solutions enabling transmission of results through the internet – explained Dr. Anna Dąbrowska, regional coordinator of the program and head of the West Pomeranian’s Center of Hearing and Speech. – Each hearing examination is preceded by obtaining parental consent in writing, test results are for exclusive information. It is very important for us that parents of a child in whom we have detected hearing problems receive professional help and instructions what to do next.

Hearing problems have been detected in about one fifth of children – it is more than in screening conducted in 2010. – We have observed that more and more children have problems with hearing. Noise, which is our constant companion, has a very negative impact on development of child’s hearing and consequently can lead to development impairment or isolation. In later years child might have problems at school due to abnormal reaction to external stimuli. Our aim is to return each child to the world of sounds and give it equal chances to its healthy peers. Hearing screening enable recognizing the problem and reaching children who have such problems – said Prof. Henryk Skarżyński, director of the Institute.

Since late 1990s the team of the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing had organized and conducted a number of programs of early detection and treatment of hearing disorders in children in early school age. Between 2007 and 2015 there were more than 1 mln hearing screening examinations performed under several programs and projects including local, national and international.

The Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing popularizes the idea of hearing screening in children not only in Europe, but also in other regions of the world, particularly in developing countries where medicine and prophylaxis are less advances and have most to gain from information, experience and best praxis provided by Polish experts.

Partners of the Program of Hearing Screening in Primary School Children from Rural Districts are the Levy Fund of Agricultural Social Insurance, the Agricultural Social Insurance Fund (KRUS), Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing and the Association of Friends of the Deaf and Hearing Impaired ‘Homo-Homini’. Honorary patronage of the program holds the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development; its scientific patron is the Clinical Science Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences.