Depending on state regulations, school hearing screenings are usually given to students in grades K, 1, 3, 5, 9 and sometimes 7. These are a great opportunity to have and can save you from spending money to take them to the doctor regularly but there does come concern with how accurate they can be. This article tells you everything you need to know about the school hearing screenings.
Pros for School Hearing Screenings
The best part about school hearing screenings is that they are free! It is so important to have your children's ears regularly tested even if you don't notice a difference in their hearing. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of in that case.
Following that, these screenings can pick up on a hearing loss that may have just started to happen. It is sometimes hard to detect the loss, especially at a young age when you don't expect it to be happening. You could be having problems that you are completely unaware of. It is even possible for your child to only have hearing loss in one ear so it seems as if their hearing is fine.
Cons for School Hearing Screenings
When it comes to who is administering the test, it is often only the school nurse. While they may have the training or have assistance from a language pathologist, the conditions are not always ideal. When you go to the doctor for a hearing test, the room is structured just for that test. Schools don't have the special equipment needed to block out the sounds and can end up resulting in a false test because of poor acoustics, reverberation or ambient noises.
Another problem with these screenings is there is no control over when the child is tested. The day the screening comes could be a bad day for your child if they have a cold or are feeling under the weather. This is just another factor that can result in a false test.
What Does it Mean to be Sent for Further Testing?
If it is suggested that your child needs to be sent for further testing is not necessarily a bad thing and does not always mean they have 'failed' the test. There could be any number of factors that take place and result in a child having their results thrown off like stated above. Just to be safe, you should schedule an appointment to take your child to see an audiologist. This time, the test will be given in a more accurate setting and the results could turn out to be completely normal.
If it turns out that there is some type of hearing loss detected, it is good that it has been caught in an early stage and there are many options your doctor can discuss with you. It is best to get it taken care of now than your child to start struggling in school because they cannot hear as well as all of the others.
Be Thankful for School Hearing Screenings
In the end, having a hearing screening at school doesn't hurt. If anything, it can assure you that your child's hearing is in perfect condition. And don't forget to give thanks to your child's school nurse for taking care of your baby!