Vision and Hearing Screenings in Schools
Howard County screens children new to the Maryland school system and those in Pre-K or Kindergarten, first and eighth grades.
Why are vision and hearing screenings held in schools?
- Healthy vision and hearing are critical parts of a child’s growth.
- Seeing and hearing well are important to a child’s success in school.
- Many vision and hearing problems can be treated best if caught early.
- Approximately 80% of what a child learns in school is presented visually.
- Even mild hearing loss can affect a child’s ability to develop speech and language.
What is the difference between a screening and a comprehensive medical exam?
- A screening is a simple test that only checks to see if a child is having difficulty seeing or hearing.
- A comprehensive medical exam is done by a medical professional such as an optometrist or ophthalmologist for vision, and/or an audiologist for hearing. The medical exam is a detailed evaluation of vision or hearing, as well as overall eye and ear health.
What should I do if my child receives a hearing or vision referral from their school?
Take the referral letter to your provider (optometrist or ophthalmologist for vision; primary care or audiologist for hearing) for a comprehensive exam. The provider will fill out the information to be returned to the school nurse.
Signs your child may need an eye or ear exam:
- Turning of one eye
- Frequent rubbing eye or ear
- Excessive blinking
- Tilting the head
- Discharge from eye or ear
- Covering or closing an eye when looking at something
- Family history of eye or ear problems
- Diabetes and/or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, or a history of traumatic brain injury
- Not responding to noises or speech
What resources are available to help me get my child a hearing or eye examination?
If you do not have health insurance, you can get assistance at the Health Department Bureau of Access to Healthcare at 410-313-6300 or www.hchealth.org, or see your school nurse.