OBJECTIVE : The present study aimed to assess the prevalence of otitis media and associated hearing loss among primary school students in the Solomon Islands.
METHODS : A total of 604 primary school students (280 males, 324 females) aged 4–15 years were assessed in two primary schools (government, nongovernment) in the capital city Honiara. School-based ear examinations were performed, including otoscopy and tuning-fork tests. Students were referred to the ENT Clinic for medical intervention and/or pure-tone audiometry assessment.
RESULTS : A total of 342 students (56.6%) did not pass their ear examination, with a significantly higher fail rate among younger students (p < 0.001). The most common ear pathology was Otitis Media with Effusion (OME) (34.2%), followed by impacted wax (22.8%), and Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media (3.1%). The follow-up attendance rate at the ENT Clinic was 81.1%. Among students with OME in at least one ear, 50% failed audiometry screening in the affected ear. While age was a significant factor for OME, it was not a significant factor for OME-associated hearing loss.
CONCLUSIONS : Ear diseases with associated hearing loss are a significant public health problem among primary school students in the Solomon Islands. The implementation of routine School Ear and Hearing Programs could be beneficial, and should reduce the national burden of ear diseases.