As part of its mission to provide support to the hearing-impaired of Yolo County, Hear! Here!, the Woodland Chapter of Hearing Loss Association of America, will screen more than 475 children this month for possible hearing loss. Testing will be done during the last two weeks of March by trained personnel from the Center for Hearing Health, in specially equipped mobile vans.
Over the past year, the mobile van has visited 13 preschools in Davis, as well as preschools in Winters, Woodland, Knights Landing and Esparto.
“If a child cannot hear you they cannot follow instructions correctly, respond appropriately or communicate fully,” said Mel Russell, one of the coordinators of the program. “Children, especially young children, often are not aware that they missing words or sounds and therefore meaning. As a result, children with even a slight hearing impediment experience difficulties not just with their listening skills but also their language skills, and their relationships with family, teachers and friends. They often become socially withdrawn and sometimes are even labeled slow learners.
“These issues, if left undetected, may lead to long-term social, emotional, behavioral and learning issues for the child,” Russell continued. “Children with a hearing impediment often fall behind grade before they even start school.”
If the testing identifies even one preschooler who needs help with his hearing, “we will have helped ensure that child a brighter future,” she said.
Funds for the screening were donated by Soroptimist International of Davis and the Woodland Sunrise Rotary Foundation. A grant from First 5 Yolo and more efficient routing and beneficial pricing during the 2012 testing allowed Hear! Here! to add more schools to its 2013 schedule. In total, close to 1,000 preschoolers have been screened over the past year, Russell said.