Cost-effectiveness of School Hearing Screening Programs: A Scoping Review

Michael Yong, Jiahe Liang, Jeromie Ballreich, Jane Lea, Brian D. Westerberg, Susan D. Emmett

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: School hearing screening is a public health intervention that can improve care for children who experience hearing loss that is not detected on or develops after newborn screening. However, implementation of school hearing screening is sporadic and supported by mixed evidence to its economic benefit. This scoping review provides a summary of all published cost-effectiveness studies regarding school hearing screening programs globally. At the time of this review, there were no previously published reviews of a similar nature. Data Sources: A structured search was applied to 4 databases: PubMed (Medline), Embase, CINAHL, and Cochrane Library. Review Methods: The database search was carried out by 2 independent researchers, and results were reported in accordance with the PRISMA-ScR checklist and the JBI methodology for scoping reviews. Studies that included a cost analysis of screening programs for school-aged children in the school environment were eligible for inclusion. Studies that involved evaluations of only neonatal or preschool programs were excluded. Results: Four of the 5 studies that conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis reported that school hearing screening was cost-effective through the calculation of incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) via either quality- or disability-adjusted life years. One study reported that a new school hearing screening program dominated the existing program; 2 studies reported ICERs ranging from 1079 to 4304 international dollars; and 1 study reported an ICER of £2445. One study reported that school-entry hearing screening was not cost-effective versus no screening. Conclusion: The majority of studies concluded that school hearing screening was cost-effective. However, significant differences in methodology and region-specific estimates of model inputs limit the generalizability of these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)826-838
Number of pages13
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • cost-effectiveness
  • hearing loss
  • hearing screening
  • pediatric
  • school children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology

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