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Participation Information

What is the purpose of the study?

Globally, 1 in 5 teenagers have some form of hearing loss and this number is predicted to double over the next 30 years. A major factor in youth hearing loss is ongoing exposure to loud noises, such as listening to personal devices on headphones too loudly and/or for too long.

​Here in New Zealand, through NFDHH's HearX Hearing Screening and Make Listening Safe Programme we continue to see unsafe listening habits in Year 9 students as well as undiagnosed hearing health issues.  In 2023, the NFDHH screening the hearing of 7,855 students at 43 secondary schools and found that 23% of all students complain of ringing in the ears (otherwise known as Tinnitus, which in the majority of cases leads to hearing loss in the future) and 37% are listening to their personal devices at unsafe levels. Of those students referred for a full hearing assessment, over 50% were found to have a hearing loss or hearing related issue that required intervention.

​​Noise-induced hearing loss is irreversible, and completely preventable. To ensure young people are aware of the risks, the National Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing launched a Hearing Screening Programme, which focuses on educating young people and provides free hearing screenings at selected secondary schools throughout New Zealand.

​​It is important that youth hearing loss is picked up, as early as possible, and that students can access the support services they need so that their hearing loss doesn’t hold them back at school or as they transition into their first job.

​NFDHH will provide free hearing screening checks for all year 9 students and collect information from students on their environment and use of personal listening devices. The programme is aimed at helping the NFDHH understand the prevalence of hearing loss in young New Zealanders and their listening habits. ​

​NFDHH deliver the hearing checks using new and innovative digital hearing screening tool - HearX and also provide students with a questionnaire about their personal device listening habits.

​This study has been approved by the Health and Disability Ethics committee as of 29 July 2020 (reference number 20/NTA/72). The National Foundation for Deaf & Hard of Hearing pays for the study.

What will participation in the study involve?


Why has your child been chosen to participate?

All year 9 students from selected secondary schools will be invited to participate. These schools have been selected to provide a representative view of New Zealand youth.


What will participation in the study involve?

Participation in the study involves attendance at one audiometric test and completion of a questionnaire. The total duration will be up to 30 minutes.

​​Demographic information as well as information about the students’ hearing and music listening habits will be recorded through the questionnaire. There are no good or bad answers, and the responses to the questionnaire do not influence the screening.

​​If we identify hearing loss with participants, we recommend that they proceed to having a full diagnostic hearing test and a referral letter to a Triton Hearing Clinic will be provided to parents. This is a free diagnostic test and there is no charge to parents.

​​While screening tests are simple, they are not thorough. This may result in missing a hearing problem. If you have concerns about your child’s hearing you should take them to have a full diagnostic hearing test, even if you have had a normal hearing screening test.


What are the possible benefits and risks of this study?

​​Are there any risks, side-effects or discomforts associated with participating in this study?

There are no risks or side-effects associated with participation in this study. To accommodate potential concerns around having hearing loss, students and/or their parents/guardians can contact the school and/or the contact persons at the end of this document.

Does participation pose any risk to the health of the participant and/or family members?

There are no health risks to the participant or family members.


What are the possible benefits of participating in this study?

​​For the participant, the study might identify any hearing loss, which would otherwise not be identified. Early identification can minimize the impact.

​​For the Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing, the study will improve the understanding of the extent and prevalence of hearing loss in adolescents in New Zealand.

Are there any costs involved in participating, and/or will participants receive any payment?

​Participants will not incur any costs or receive any payments as part of this study.


What if something goes wrong?

​If a participant were to get injured in this study, they would be eligible to apply for compensation from ACC similar to an accident at work or at home. This does not mean that a claim will automatically be accepted. To apply, a claim has to be lodged with ACC, which may take some time to assess. If the claim is accepted, you will receive funding to assist in your recovery.

What are my rights?

​Participation in this study is entirely voluntary and you or your child may decline to participate or withdraw from the research at any time without experiencing any disadvantage.

​​You have the right to access any information about you collected as part of the study at any point. ​​You will be told of any new information about adverse or beneficial effects related to the study that becomes available during the study that may have an impact on your child’s health.

​​The protection of your confidential personal information is of utmost importance to us and the NFDHH ensures personal information is secure. In brief, the privacy policy states that only you, your child, the researchers, the Foundation CE and anyone that you or your child give authorisation to access your, and your child’s, data (including the questionnaire and test results) at any time. The Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing are not allowed to use your data for any other purpose than for this study, according to the Privacy Act 1993. Data will be stored by the Foundation on a secure cloud server (located in Australia) that only the CE has access to, for a maximum of 10 years. 

​​If any hearing loss is detected, the school will be informed by default so that they can provide further support. You may choose to have results sent directly to you instead.


What happens after the study or if I change my mind?

​If a hearing loss is recorded, the NFDHH will prepare a referral letter, which is then sent via email or post to the parents/guardians of the child. The referral letter will outline the process of booking your child for a free diagnostic hearing assessment at your nearest Triton Hearing Clinic. Please note the hearing assessment is free of charge and at no cost to the parents/guardian. If a hearing loss or hearing is found after the completion of the diagnostic test, then the audiologist from Triton Hearing will advise of the next steps and prepare a referral letter to your GP or the relevant Te Whatu Ora in your area. There is also funding available for hearing aids, should these be required.

​​If required, the NFDHH can make the results of the original screening available to medical professionals involved in the full hearing assessment.

​​Data collected during this study, including research information, will be retained by the NFDHH for a period of 10 years for auditing purposes, according to the Privacy Act 1993. No one other than the persons involved in this study have access to the data.

​​Aggregated results of the study will be made available to the general public, including you and your child. At no point will this include any personal identifiable information.

Who do I contact for more information or if I have concerns?

If you or your child have any questions, concerns, or complaints about the study at any stage, you can contact:

Natasha Gallardo – Chief Executive, NFDHH

Phone: 09 307 9222


If you or your child want to talk to someone who is not involved with the study, you can contact an independent health and disability advocate on:

Phone: 0800 555 050

Fax: 0800 2 SUPPORT (0800 2787 7678)



For Māori health support please contact :

​Name: HealthCare New Zealand

Phone: 0800 227 348


You can also contact the health and disability ethics committee (HDEC) that approved this study on:

Phone: 0800 4 ETHICS


Name: HealthCare New Zealand

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