Screening for hearing loss versus parental concern regarding hearing problems: Subsequent referral and treatment for otitis media in the Netherlands

W. Lok*, L.J.C. Anteunis, M.N. Chenault, C. Meesters, M.P. Haggard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective. The present study investigates whether general practitioner (GP) consultation initiated by failing the population hearing screening at age nine months or GP consultation because of parental concern over ear/hearing problems was more important in deciding on referral and/or surgical treatment of otitis media (OM). Design. A questionnaire covering the history between birth and 21 months of age was used to obtain information on referral after failing the hearing screening, GP consultations for ear/hearing problems, and subsequent referral to a specialist and possible surgical treatment at an ENT department. Setting. The province of Limburg, the Netherlands. Subjects. Healthy infants invited for the hearing screening at age nine months, who responded in an earlier study called PEPPER (Persistent Ear Problems, Providing Evidence for Referral, response rate 58%). Main outcome measures. The odds of a child being surgically treated for OM. Results. The response rate for the present questionnaire was 72%. Of all children tested, 3.9% failed the hearing screening and were referred to their GP. Of all 2619 children in this study, 18.6% visited their GP with ear/hearing problems. Children failing the hearing screening without GP consultation for ear/hearing problems were significantly more often treated surgically for OM than children passing the hearing screening but with GP consultation for ear/hearing problems. Conclusion. Objectified hearing loss, i.e. failing the hearing screening, was important in the decision for surgical treatment in infants in the Netherlands.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-168
Number of pages6
JournalScandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012


  • General practitioner
  • hearing screening
  • infants
  • otitis media
  • referral Introduction

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