Minimal Hearing Impairment: The Importance of Education We have been concerned for some time about the issues associated with minimal hearing impairment (MHI). MHI is defined as hearing thresholds between 16 and 25 dB HL (DeConde Johnson, Benton, & Seaton, 1997;Nelson, 2000, Northern & Downs, 2002). Studies have shown that some children with hearing loss in ... Article
Article  |   March 01, 2005
Minimal Hearing Impairment: The Importance of Education
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Cynthia McCormick Richburg
    Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield, MI
  • Lynette R. Goldberg
    Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield, MI
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / School-Based Settings / Articles
Article   |   March 01, 2005
Minimal Hearing Impairment: The Importance of Education
SIG 16 Perspectives on School-Based Issues, March 2005, Vol. 6, 4-7. doi:10.1044/sbi6.1.4
SIG 16 Perspectives on School-Based Issues, March 2005, Vol. 6, 4-7. doi:10.1044/sbi6.1.4
We have been concerned for some time about the issues associated with minimal hearing impairment (MHI). MHI is defined as hearing thresholds between 16 and 25 dB HL (DeConde Johnson, Benton, & Seaton, 1997;Nelson, 2000, Northern & Downs, 2002). Studies have shown that some children with hearing loss in this range are at risk for problems with language, learning, and socio-emotional development (Dodd-Murphy & Mamlin, 2002;Johnson, Stein, Broadway, & Markwalter, 1997;Kaderavek & Pakulski, 2002). Recognizing this, ASHA has recommended that hearing screenings take place at 1000 Hz, 2000 Hz, and 4000 Hz at a level of 20 dB HL, rather than 25dB HL, for children (ASHA, 1997). Audiologists who are “in the trenches” would ideally screen at the ASHA recommended levels; however, realities dictate that (a) screening environments do not accommodate such low signal levels (these environments are too noisy), and (b) clinical audiometers rarely test in 1 dB increments, so screening hearing at 16 through 19 dBHL (or 21 through 24 dBHL) is problematic for identifying children with MHI.
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