Otitis media and hearing loss among 12-16-year-old Inuit of Inukjuak, Quebec, Canada

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Ayukawa, Hannah ; Bruneau, Suzanne ; Proulx, Jean-François ; Macarthur, Judy ; Baxter, James (2004)
  • Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
  • Journal: International Journal of Circumpolar Health (issn: 1797-237X, eissn: 1239-9736)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/ijch.v63i0.17926
  • Subject: otitis media, Inuit, hearing loss
    mesheuropmc: education | otorhinolaryngologic diseases

Objectives. Chronic otitis media (COM) and associated hearing loss is a frequent problem for many Inuit children in Canada. In this study, we evaluated individuals aged 12-16 years living in Inukjuak, to determine the prevalence of middle ear disease and hearing loss, and the effect of hearing loss on academic performance. Methods. Otological examination, hearing test, medical and school file review were performed in November 1997. 88 individuals were seen. Results. Otological examination revealed maximal scarring in 1.8%, minimal scarring in 34.9%, normal eardrums in 49.1% and chronic otitis media in 16.9%. There were 62 individuals whose ear exams could be directly compared with a previous exam done in 1987. Of those, there were three ears that had developed COM and 4/13ears with COM in 1987 that had healed. Hearing tests found bilateral normal hearing in 80% (PTA <20dB), unilateral loss in 15% and bilateral loss in 5%. Hearing loss was associated with poorer academic performance in Language (p<.05). A similar trend was found in Mathematics but not in Inuttitut. Conclusion. Chronic otitis media remains a significant problem among the Inuit, with a prevalence of 16.9% in individuals aged 12-16 years. One in five in this age group has hearing loss, and this hearing loss impacts on academic performance.Keywords: otitis media, Inuit, hearing loss
  • References (5)

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