Urinary iodine excretion was assessed in 1222 healthy children aged 10 months (n = 456), 2 years (n = 368) and 4 years (n = 398) living in the Paris area and originating from continental France (55.2%), North Africa (15.7%), the West Indies (9.7%), West Africa (8.2%), Southeast Asia (5.5%), and southern Europe (5.7%). Iodine excretions (median values) were, respectively, 18.1, 13.4 and 11.6 micrograms/100 ml at 10 months, 2 years and 4 years, and risk of mild to moderate iodine deficiency (< 10 micrograms/100 ml) was 18.0%, 32.3% and 37.2% for the same age groups. Urinary iodine excretion was highest among Southeast Asian children, and lowest among West Africans. Hearing acuity was measured either by conventional mono-aural pure-tone audiometry or by binaural free field testing depending on the child's age. Hearing loss at 4000 Hz and average hearing impairment at speech frequencies (500, 1000 and 2000 Hz) were more severe among children at risk of mild to moderate iodine deficiency (less than 10 micrograms/100 ml) compared with those with urinary excretion above 10 micrograms/100 ml.