Wednesday, May 2, 2012
62 Winters children screened for Hearing Loss Today
The children were screened in groups of 5. As they took their places in the van they gave their name to Norma. Lucia then showed each child where to sit and explained that they were going to be putting on the ear phones and having a hearing test. She then gave them the directions "When you hear a sound you need to put your hand up right away. Then put it down when the sound goes away." Before doing the actual screening she had the children try it out first without headphones and then a couple of times with the headphones on. Some of the children treated this part as a race trying desperately to be the first one to have their hands up! This in part explained why, when the children do the actual screenings, they have to have their eyes closed. The other reason is to prevent a child from just copying the person next to them, which is very natural behaviour in 4 and 5 year olds. It was quite funny to see 5 children sitting there with their eyes closed...some had them squeezed oh oh so very tight and others barely had their eyelids touching down! Lucia was able to make sure though that eyes were shut when needed.
With Norma helping they then took the children through the sounds, testing each ear for 3 different frequencies. If a child was having problems following the directions Norma would help by gently prompting them with the instructions again with such patience. If a child seemed to be having problems hearing then Lucia repeated the sounds and also added another frequency to the mix, making sure they had every opportunity to respond.
As it happened one of the schools also had a number of 3 year olds in the class whom we also tested. Because they are younger and cannot focus for as long as 4 and 5 year olds, Norma had only 3 children come into the van at a time. Lucia adapted the test by screening each child one at a time as trying to listen and put their hands up at the same time is just a little too complex for 3 year olds.
The atmosphere was relaxed and some of the children were shouting "That was fun!" as they left the van...showing off their stickers as they went!