The Importance of School Hearing Screenings
Hearing screenings in schools can help identify children who may require hearing services or assistive devices such as hearing aids. High Level Speech & Hearing Center provides mobile hearing screenings at local schools in the New Orleans area, and we can also provide additional testing and services for students who show potential hearing loss during a school-based screening. Learn more about what to expect and how to follow up after receiving your child's results.
The Connection Between Hearing and Learning
Because hearing is so essential to learning, school is a natural setting for mobile screenings. Although newborns have a hearing screening in the hospital after birth, some types of hearing loss manifest later in childhood and may go unrecognized. These undiagnosed deficits may increase the child's risk for learning difficulties in the academic setting. In addition, undiagnosed hearing loss can impact peer relationships and socialization, sometimes resulting in isolation and depression.
Even minor hearing loss can cause challenges in the classroom when it comes to hearing instructions, processing information, and following directions. For example, if a teacher continues speaking while turning his or her back to write on the chalkboard, your child may lose that message due to reduced volume or a reliance on lip reading for understanding. Difficulty hearing often results in difficulty communicating with others and expressing oneself, which can create issues with school performance. Often, children who have hearing loss are misdiagnosed with a learning disability such as ADD or ADHD.
What to Expect During a Hearing Screening
Students may be screened in preschool and beyond, with Louisiana public and charter schools providing mandated hearing tests every other year for K-12 students. The most common type of screening is called a pure-tone test. During the screening, the examiner will fit your child with headphones and instruct him or her to raise one hand when a beep or similar sound is heard. Sound waves are measured and tested at a range of frequencies in both ears.
Children pass the screening if they are able to identify sounds at 20 decibels and above. Children who do not pass the screening may have temporary congestion in the ears or test irregularities that interfere with the results and will be tested again in four to six weeks. If a repeat screening also shows poor results, you should make an appointment for follow-up testing with one of the experienced audiologists on our team.