In partnership with the French Foundation of Hearing (Fondation pour l’Audition) and the french ministery of National Education, the Foundation of the french Academy of Medicine (FAM) would like to set up a pilot project of hearing tests on 6 classes of kindergarten.
Why do this project?
Through systematic screening at birth and follow-up in the early years of a child’s life, significant deafness leading to disability is usually detected. This screening, theoretically carried out at the age of 5 years, is not always carried out.
Among the different types of deafness, the most difficult to identify are hearing loss of lesser severity or those occurring later after birth. They often go unnoticed at the beginning of schooling (kindergarten), and are all the more serious if they are mild. They can appear following common ENT pathologies that are not or poorly treated (serous ear infections in particular).
This is why the FAM, whose mission is “The best possible health to everyone everywhere in the world”, and its partners have decided to conduct a study of hearing tests in young children.
Objectives of the study
-Detecting hearing loss and deafness in an age group of children from very different geographical and socio-economic situations.
-To estimate the influence of the social environment (school in priority education, Dom Tom … ) on the pathology because it is not detected in the health care system due to lack of access to it.
-Verify whether the ultra-simplified technology used (see below) by Professor De Wet Swanepoel is easier to use for school doctors and more effective than current helmets.
-At the same time, evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the method used.
Methodology of the study
New technologies that are easy to use through mobile phone applications and audio headsets have been developed, in particular by South Africa. The FAM will use one of these technologies called HearScreen (see presentation document), which is designed to evaluate hearing performance and which has been the subject of work published in particular within the framework of the WHO. Its screening headset and its application were presented by Professor De Wet Swanepoel in Paris at UNESCO.
Children aged 5 years in the last year of kindergarten in classes in different regions (e.g. Paris region, Rhône Alpes and possibly a DOM, French Guiana). The study will be carried out in 3 nursery schools.
Staff in charge of the screening tests: PMI, nurses and trained school doctors.
Conditions of realization
->Coordination with the Ministries of National Education and Health
->Volunteer of the Academy concerned
->Association of the AFPSSU and its members in the conception and implementation of the study
->Setting up conditions allowing the respect of the confidentiality of the collected data
->Coordination at least with the attending physicians and/or ENT doctors of reference
All of the prerequisites to be fulfilled lead us to envisage the start of the study at the start of the 2020 academic year with a duration spread over a period of 6 months. The objective is to be in a position to present the results by the AFPSSU day in November 2021.
Experts coordinating the study
Pr De Wet Swanepoel of HearScreen
Professor Chays, ENT and member of the french Academy of Medicine
Doctor Yves Juillet, member of the FAM strategic committee