Hearing and Vison screenings are intended for all children in Michigan and are conducted in all schools and at Ionia County Health Department (ICHD) by appointment. Hearing and Vision Screening exams are conducted at no charge to the children of Ionia County. To contact the health department, please call 616-527- 5341. Evening clinics are available for both hearing and vision screenings to accommodate parents or caregivers. Parents are responsible for getting their child’s hearing and vision checked prior to the first day of Kindergarten. Best practice is to have the screenings take place no more than 6 months prior to the start of school.
Many children are unaware that they hear differently from their peers. Early identification of hearing problems can alleviate speech/language delays, social/emotional delays, academic delays and psychological delays.
The Hearing Screening Program supports the screening of children at least once between the ages of 3 and 5 years. Routine school screening takes place in Developmental Kindergarten, Kindergarten, second and fourth grades.
The goals of the hearing screening program at ICHD are to:
- Identify hearing loss as early as possible.
- Reduce preventable hearing loss and ear disease by providing assistance in obtaining prompt medical care for children at risk for hearing loss
- Identify hearing impaired children so that their educational, medical and social needs may be defined, and
- Help parents and school personnel to understand the child’s needs related to a hearing loss.
A referral is made to the child’s primary care provider, or to an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) physician or an audiologist. Follow-up for all referrals is conducted to assure that care is received.
Vision problems have been shown to adversely affect a child’s development in school. Young children are unaware of how they should see and must rely on adults to detect vision problems. Children may have trouble reading blackboards or other classroom presentation materials or have trouble reading or doing any kind of close work. Additionally, several types of eye disorders can lead to permanent visual impairment if not identified and treated early. Vision problems can and do adversely affect students’ ability to function and enjoy learning.
Routine school screening for visual problems takes place in first, third, fifth, seventh and ninth grades.
The goals of the visual screening program at ICHD are to:
- Identify visual problems as early as possible
- Reduce preventable visual disorders that can lead to permanent vision impairment
- Identify visual problems and secure treatment to increase a child’s chances of achieving good treatment outcomes
- Help parents and school personnel to understand the child’s needs related to visual impairment.
A referral is made to the child’s primary care provider or to a licensed eye care practitioner (optometrist or ophthalmologist). Follow-up for all referrals is conducted to assure that care is received.