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Hearing & Vision Screenings
7/4/2018 10:17:03 PM
Visions and hearing

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, about one-fourth of school-aged children have a significant vision problem. Similarly, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery says three million children younger than 18 years have some form of hearing loss.

It’s no surprise, then, that newborns typically undergo vision and hearing screenings shortly after birth to catch some issues as early as possible. But many children develop problems with their eyes and ears later, sometimes well beyond early infancy. So, what can parents do to ensure that any hearing or vision problems their children might experience are caught early? And now that the back-to-school period is approaching, is it time to have your child screened by a health care provider?

The answer depends in part on your child’s age and whether you’ve noticed any problems. A good place to begin is with advice from your pediatrician. If a problem is suspected, he or she can perform a hearing or vision screening and refer you to the appropriate specialist for further evaluation if needed.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, babies who do not startle at loud noises, do not turn to the source of sounds by age six months, or do not say single words like "mama” or "dada” by one year may have a hearing problem. "Older children with hearing problems may have delayed or unclear speech, turn electronic devices up high, and have trouble following directions,” says Dr. Heidi Sorrells with Acadian Hearing.

"Babies older than six months who cannot track an object that moves across their field of vision or cannot make steady eye contact may have trouble seeing,” says ophthalmologist Virgil Murray III, MD, with The Eye Clinic. "Similarly, older children who have misalignment, pain, or itchiness in the eyes; keep books or electronic devices very close to their faces; or are having trouble with schoolwork should have their vision screened.”

In addition, it is recommended that even children with no obvious signs of vision or hearing loss undergo screenings that vary by age.

"These screenings often allow us to catch problems early, before children begin to have problems in school or elsewhere,” Dr. Sorrells says. 

The American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children have a pediatrician screen their eyes as newborns and then as part of well-child visits starting by age six months. As your child ages, the type of screening performed will change too. In addition, the American Optometric Association recommends that children receive separate, more comprehensive exams by optometrists around age six months, at three years of age, before entering first grade and then every two years thereafter.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says children should have their hearing screened before they start school regardless of whether you suspect a problem.

"You know your child better than anyone,” says Dr. Murray. "Trust your instinct and let your health care provider know if you have any questions or concerns.”

For more information about children and vision screenings or vision concerns, call The Eye Clinic nearest you or 1-800-826-5223.

For more information about children and hearing screenings or concerns, call Acadian Hearing at (337) 436-3277.
Posted by: Andrea Mongler | Submit comment | Tell a friend

Categories: Parenting

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