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Dickinson-Iron District Health Department reminds pre-school parents about hearing and vision testing

It is mandated in Michigan you get your child’s vision and hearing tested before kindergarten.
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 6:37 PM EDT
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IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WLUC) - Testing your children for hearing and sight issues before kindergarten can prevent any problems from getting worse.

Addison Neubauer is four-years-old, and had her vision and hearing tested at the Dickinson-Iron District Health Department (DIDHD) Friday.

She is one of 450,000 Michigan children who will get tested before going to kindergarten in the fall by technicians like Amber Grassinger.

“An undiagnosed hearing problem can result in children not being able to pay attention in class, not following directions. A vision problem can result in children not being able to read and write,” Grassinger said.

Grassinger showed Neubauer different visual symbols to test her sight and had her place a wooden block inside a bucket every time she heard a tone in her ear. There are a few warning signs parents can look for to indicate an issue.

“Any type of drainage from the ear, if they try and turn up the television or radio [too loud], asking you to repeat things too often,” Grassinger explained. “For vision, if they hold items too close to the eyes, or telling you they can’t see something, or squinting and tilting of the head.”

If the child fails to meet the required threshold, you would be referred to a specialist. According to the state, 10 percent of children screened for vision and five percent screened for hearing are referred to a specialist.

“The earlier you determine a problem, the more likely you are to prevent permanent damage,” Grassinger said.

It is mandated in Michigan you get your child’s vision and hearing tested before kindergarten. DIDHD will host free testing clinics for pre-school-aged children throughout the summer. You can either call the health department directly or the school your child will attend kindergarten in the fall for more information or sign-ups.

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