30 Jul 2009

Hawke's Bay tackles students' hearing difficulties

8:37 am on 30 July 2009

Hawke's Bay District Health Board is spending more than $120,000 on a school project to overcome the hearing difficulties of five and six-year-olds.

The board is funding the installation of sound systems in 15 decile-one to decile-three schools.

The project involves teachers wearing a wireless microphone, and wall-mounted speakers making their voice audible in every part of the classroom.

Board spokesperson Joan Plowman says the rate of hearing failure among new entrants is almost 11% - more than double the national average.

Ms Plowman says glue ear is one of the five main reasons Maori children in Hawke's Bay are admitted to hospital.

She says that up to half of new entrants cannot hear properly in some schools.