Why do we screen?
Proper hearing and vision is important to a child's success. Children that cannot hear or see properly have harder time socially, in school, and staying safe in dangerous situations. The primary purpose of the hearing and vision screening program is to identify hearing and vision problems in children and get them into care as soon as possible. Hearing and vision problems can often be corrected in children if caught early.
Who do we screen and how often?
We provide screening for any child age 3 to 18 at no charge. Children should be screened at least one time between the ages of 3 and 5 AND about 6 months prior to kindergarten entry (required). Children in 2nd and 4th grade classrooms in Muskegon County area also receive hearing screening each year. Children in 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th grade classrooms in Muskegon County also received vision screening each year.
What are we looking for when we screen?
A hearing screen is based upon perception of sound. During the initial screening, children are asked to listen to different tones at different volumes and respond when they are heard. The initial screening also includes a general ear check for ear health. Children failing the first round of screening are tested again about a month later. The second round of testing is more detailed. If a child fails the second screen, they are referred to an ear, nose, and throat specialist for diagnosis and treatment.
Vision screens for preschoolers and school age children are a bit different from each other. In general, a vision screening includes a simple test for proper eye muscle function, clearness of vision, 2-line difference (lazy eye), farsightedness, and observation for signs of certain eye conditions. A failed screening will result in a referral to an optometrist or ophthalmologist for diagnosis and treatment.
Where do we screen and when?
- In schools during the school year
- In daycare centers and preschools year round
- By appointment Monday-Friday, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm at Public Health - Muskegon County. Call (231) 724-1394 to make an appointment.
What are some of the signs of hearing loss in a child?
- Has a history of ear infections or drainage from ears
- Wants the television or radio louder
- Misunderstands directions or asks you to repeat often
- No noticeable response to sudden or loud noises
- Seems to speak differently than children his or her age
- Doesn't reply when you call him or her
- Complains of ear aches or pain
What are some of the signs of vision loss in a child?
- Squints or tilts head when looking at something
- Rubs eyes a lot when not tired
- Loses place when reading or uses finger to follow text
- Unusually clumsy for their age group
- Eyes seem to jump, wiggle back and forth, or do not move together
- Always a spot in one eye in flash photos (not the common red-eye that usually appears in both eyes)
What to do if you suspect your child has hearing or vision loss?
If you suspect your child has a hearing problem, it is VERY important to see a professional as soon as possible. Hearing problem can often be corrected if they are addressed early.
Please call (231) 724-1394 or email us with questions, if you need a referral to a specialist, or help finding resources for eyewear that accept your insurance.