A study says a third of a group of Pacific children tested in South Auckland may have a hearing problem.
More than 900 11-year-olds were tested as part of a long term study of Pacific children.
Of these: 35% had auditory processing disorder, meaning they find it difficult to distinguish between simultaneous sounds.
Suzanne Purdy, the head of Speech Science at Auckland University, said the condition makes it difficult for children to listen and therefore learn.
Professor Purdy said treatment services are not available where most of these children live, in the Counties Manukau District Health Board area.
The board won't comment because it has not yet seen the research.