Hearing screening for school-age children: reinforcing the system

Hearing screening

Children in school
iStock

Australia’s Daily Mercury newspaper reports on a new program to enhance hearing screening in the country, as a supplement to newborn hearing screening that has been in place widely in the country for some time.

As part of Australia’s national Break The Sound Barrier program, school-age children should benefit from increased hearing screening before they start primary and high school. According to Deafness Forum of Australia Chair, David Brady, the country has the world’s best screening program for newborns but school-age children may be falling through the gaps, the article reports.

“Australia is spending billions a year on education but that money is wasted if children are falling behind because they simply cannot hear what the teacher is saying,” Mr Brady said. “If children can’t hear what’s going on around them, they can’t learn properly, they can’t participate, and they can feel alone and isolated on the playground. Many children experience hearing loss as a result of ear infections or other conditions that are not diagnosed, which means our kids aren’t getting the support they need.”

The organization wants to ensure that routine hearing testing before students start primary and high school reinforces early screening and that audiology screening is affordable for all children through their school years. Other reforms that would make a major difference include for instance a national hearing awareness initiative, regular universal hearing checks for people over 50, and new tax rules to make hearing devices tax deductible, says the campaign organizer.

Source: Daily Mercury

C.S.