Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech with Major emphasis in Audiology and Speech Pathology


Speech and Hearing Sciences




Hearing impaired children, Children with mental disabilities -- Washington (State) -- Vancouver



Physical Description

1 online resource (3, v, 63 leaves)


In order for the mentally retarded population to achieve maximum benefit from rehabilitation efforts, it is essential that a complete picture of their abilities and disabilities be obtained. Consequently, the identification of hearing loss is an integral element in any diagnostic procedure. Vancouver School District 37 has directed increased attention toward speech and language training for children in the special education classrooms for the mentally retarded; however, differential hearing diagnosis has been inadequate or totally lacking. In order to more efficiently treat this problem, it was felt that a comprehensive investigation into the incidence and types of hearing loss of this population would provide a basis for program design. To adequately survey the previous investigations in the literature it was advantageous to divide them into categories according to likeness of criteria used in defining "hearing loss." In this survey, a heterogeneous sample of 212 retarded subjects ranging in age from 6 years, 8 months to 19 years, 9 months was audiometrically tested at four frequencies: 500 Hz, 1000 Hz, 2000 Hz, and 4000 Hz. The retarded subjects encompassed MI levels I through IV on the c1assification system developed by the American Association on Mental Deficiency. Tests were administered at eight locations within the Vancouver School District 37 which offered adequate test environments. The criterion for hearing loss in this survey was a loss of 20 dB or more in two or more frequencies in either ear. The audiometric procedure used in both air and bone-conduction testing was the revised technique of Newhart and Reger (1945, revised 1956). Operant procedures were designed after Stewart (1970). Two examiners were used, and ten test scores of each correlated at approximately .93 using the Pearson Product- Moment Correlation. Thirty-eight of the 212 subjects had hearing losses of 20 dB or more in two or more frequencies in either ear. This number established an incidence of 17. 9 per cent for this population. The present data indicate, in general, that the incidence of hearing loss is greater among the more severely retarded than among the less retarded. The audiometric data depict a general trend toward a decrease in hearing loss incidence with increasing .age. Of those with hearing loss, slightly more males (53 per cent) than females (47 per cent) were represented. The pattern established by the current survey revealed a concentration of conductive losses at lower age levels and a concentration of sensori-neural losses at the higher age levels. The special education classrooms of Vancouver School District 37 reveal a three to six times greater incidence of hearing loss than among the normal classrooms of the district. The concentration of conductive losses at lower age levels leads to a recommendation that hearing levels be screened each year up to age 12.


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Portland State University. Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences

Persistent Identifier