Understanding Hearing Screenings at School

Like many health problems, conditions of the ears are best treated when diagnosed early. For this reason, the state of Arizona has legislation in place that requires schools to provide screenings for hearing disorders. 

Students typically have their hearing tested in kindergarten with subsequent hearing tests occurring each year until the second grade. After these tests, children are not tested again until 6th grade, but they may be tested again in high school. The experts at AOC Physicians find this to be the norm, but school screenings may vary, especially if the child is taking special classes, has switched schools, or has previously failed a hearing test.

What happens during the test?

During the test, a child will be taken into a room and given a pair of headphones. They may be presented with beeping sounds of different frequencies that come out of one side of the headphones. The administrator may ask the child to hold up a hand or point to the ear where the sound is coming from. Additionally, children may be asked to raise a hand as soon as they hear any noise at all. This test measures both ears.

What happens if my child does not pass?

If a child does not pass one of the hearing tests, the school may opt to re-test the child. If the second hearing test does not produce a passing score, the school administrator may advise the child's parents to bring him or her to an audiologist or pediatrician for further testing. More often than not, the child will be referred to an audiologist.

There are a number of reasons why a child could fail a hearing test. For example, the test could provide incorrect results. Sometimes, the test is administered in a room with ambient noise or the child may have obstructed hearing due to an illness. Under these circumstances, the child should pass their second test after relocating to a different room or recovering from an illness. If there factors are not at play, it is possible the child has a hearing condition.

If the child does, in fact, have a hearing condition, we recommend taking them to AOC Physicians. Not only are our physicians experts of the ear, but they also have years of experience working with children! Hearing problems can be difficult to detect, especially if the child only suffers from hearing loss in one ear. Our specialists can work with children to design a specialized treatment plan after diagnosing their condition. The sooner parents take their children to an ear specialist, the quicker they can go back to school better equipped to listen and learn.

Arizona Otolaryngology Consultants (AOC) is a comprehensive ENT clinic that provides care for all diseases of the ears, nose, throat, and sinuses. The physicians at AOC have the highest level of training and expertise in ENT care and ENT subspecialty care, which includes the management of pediatric airway, cancer, skull base surgery, advanced head and neck surgical and reconstructive procedures, craniofacial surgery and more. Call 602-264-4834 to request an appointment today! 

The advice and information contained in this article are for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.

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