p-ISSN 2083-389x   e-ISSN 2084-3127


Prevalence of Communication Disorders in a Rural Population of Republic of India

Sreeraj Konadath, Suma C., Jayaram G., Sandeep M., Mahima G., Shreyank P.S.

JHS 2013; 3(2): OA41-49

DOI: 10.17430/889007

Published: 2013-10-16

Background: Information about the prevalence of communication disorders is essential for planning prevention and rehabilitation services. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of communication disorders between gender and across age groups among a rural population of India. This work reports a study conducted as part of field work by staff and students of the All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH), Manasagangothri, Mysore, India.
Material and Methods: A door-to-door survey of 15,441 individuals from 15 villages, irrespective of their age and gender, was conducted as phase I of the study. The villages were selected on a random basis. A modified high-risk questionnaire was administered to identify individuals at risk of communication disorders. Those found at risk were referred for detailed audiological and/or speech and language evaluation in phase II of the study.
Results: The survey found that the prevalence of individuals at risk of communication disorders was 6.07%. Among those at risk, and who attended phase II of the study, the prevalence of audiological and/or otological disorder was found to be 90.58% and that of speech and language disorder was 9.42%. Among those at risk of speech and language disorder, 22.9% were found to be at risk of mental retardation.
Conclusions: Audiological and/or otological disorders were found to be more prevalent among communication disorders in the selected population. In general, males showed a higher prevalence of communication disorders compared to females. The prevalence of severe and moderately severe hearing loss was found to be higher than other degrees of hearing loss. Child language disorders and reading/writing difficulties were the most prevalent problems among speech and language disorders.

Keywords: Rural Population, India, communication disorders, prevalence