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eISSN: 1643-3750

A Hearing Screening Program for Children in Primary Schools in Tajikistan: A Telemedicine Model

Piotr Henryk Skarzyński, Weronica Świerniak, Adam Piłka, Magdalena B. Skarżynska, Andrzej W. Włodarczyk, Dzhamol Kholmatov, Abdukholik Makhamadiev, Stavros Hatzopoulos

(Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing, Warsaw/Kajetany, Poland)

Med Sci Monit 2016; 22:2424-2430

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.895967

Published: 2016-07-12

BACKGROUND: According to the guidelines of the European Scientific Consensus on Hearing (European Federation of Audiology Societies ‘EFAS’ Congress, June 2011, Warsaw, Poland), the detection and treatment of communication disorders in early school-age children is of the highest importance. This objective was adopted by the Polish president of the EFAS Council from the second half of 2011; as a result, pilot programs on children’s hearing screening were initiated in various European countries. This paper reports data from a pilot program in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We randomly selected 143 children from 2 primary schools. Each child was assessed by pure tone audiometry and 2 questionnaires (dedicated to parents and children). The study allowed the validation of: (i) hearing screening procedures in young children, and (ii) data collection via a telemedicine model.
RESULTS: Hearing impairments were identified in 34 cases (23.7%) with a 50% ratio between unilateral and bilateral losses. We found a higher incidence of hearing impairment in children than that reported in previous Polish studies.
CONCLUSIONS: The data from the present study suggest that it is possible to use a telemedicine model to assess the hearing status of children and to provide a long-distance expert assistance. The latter is very important for rural areas without specialized medical services.

Keywords: Child, Audiometry, Pure-Tone, Female, Hearing Disorders - epidemiology, Humans, Incidence, Male, Mass Screening - methods, Parents, Pilot Projects, School Health Services, Schools, Surveys and Questionnaires, Tajikistan - epidemiology, Telemedicine - methods