Next Steps for Children Not Passing the Hearing Screening
Many of you have recently completed an annual Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) hearing screening of all children enrolled in your program. This is a critical service that not all young children across the country receive.
Based on data from a large number of Early Head Start programs that are successfully screening, we would expect that about 75% of children in any given program would pass the screening on both ears on the first attempt. An additional number would be expected to pass the rescreen conducted 1 - 2 weeks later.
What that means is that about 8% of the total number of children screened will need to be referred to a health care provider to determine if a middle ear condition is interfering with the screening. Take a look at some sample letter to health care providers to help you communicate with professionals who will be examining these children. For ideas about what to say to parents, both for children who passed the screening and for those who did not, view sample scripts that provide examples of how to convey screening outcomes in a variety of situations.
Also be sure that you take the vital step of obtaining information from the health care provider on the outcome of the referral so that you know when the middle ear is clear and you can attempt another screening. If a child does not pass this screening, referral to a pediatric audiologist must be made and completed. Children who have not passed the OAE screening on multiple attempts are at high risk for permanent hearing loss. Each day matters and the sooner a diagnostic assessment can be made, and appropriate intervention begun, the greater the chance children who are deaf or hard of hearing will be able to develop normally.
Let us know if you have tips for successfully communicating with parents and other professionals:
And, as always, share www.KidsHearing.org with anyone you think would benefit from our resources.