Original Research

Perceptions of public primary school teachers regarding noise-induced hearing loss in South Africa

Katerina Ehlert
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 64, No 1 | a185 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v64i1.185 | © 2017 Katerina Ehlert | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 September 2016 | Published: 28 March 2017

About the author(s)

Katerina Ehlert, Department Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South Africa


Background: Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is an increasingly growing problem in young children. This is attributed to recreational noise being the most common cause of this problem. In young children, hearing problems can delay language development and reduce academic achievements. South Africa, in particular, has limited information and protective measures regarding the conservation of hearing in school-aged children.

Objectives: The main aim of the study was to determine the perception of primary school teachers regarding NIHL. The study also aimed to determine if any hearing conservation programmes are being implemented in schools and the need for training of primary school teachers regarding NIHL.

Method: A survey was conducted. In order to cover the population of interest, the sampled schools in Pretoria were clustered into urban, semi-urban and rural areas.

Results: The majority of the teachers included in this study are aware of NIHL and its effects. They, however, lack the necessary resources and knowledge to effectively use this information. Most (67.5%) of the teachers indicated that they have never been exposed to children with NIHL in a school setting. It was also found that the majority (84%) of the schools included in the study do not implement hearing screening and conservation programmes.

Conclusion: Although the sample size was limited, the results correlate with other research in this field indicating a need for planning and implementation of hearing conservation programmes in schools, including training of teachers in order for these programmes to be effective.


Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL); hearing conservation; school-aged children; teacher perceptions


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