HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Undiagnosed hearing problems can cause children to struggle in school.
That’s why a Hawaii nonprofit is helping out families with early detection.
Free screenings, including hearing and vision tests, are offered at statewide events put on by Leadership in Disabilities and Achievement of Hawaii.
The group also provides the service to dozens of preschools on Oahu and the Big Island. Catching the problem early allows families to find a solution before the child starts kindergarten.
“Unless you understand what to look for and how to identify something like that, somebody with a hearing loss, it’s not normally something you pay attention to,” Executive Director Rosie Rowe said.
Four-year-old Kayston Knight recently had ear tubes inserted after a screening at his preschool in May alerted his parents that he had mild hearing loss in both ears.
“If we didn’t catch it, it would have, I think, delayed his speech,” said Kayston’s mother, Elyssa Knight.
“We noticed now he could hear better and he could produce those sounds that he wasn’t able to before, which was affecting his speech.”
If a hearing problem isn’t caught early, the child may start to fall behind in school or end up in special education, according to the nonprofit.
“A lot of kids have sand in their ears, wax in their ears, and we have an outdoor lifestyle here, and so hearing has always been the main screening that we have found has increased over time,” said Rowe.
The group’s next Traveling Mini Conference is on Oct. 6 at Hawaii USA Federal Credit Union’s main branch in Honolulu at 1226 College Walk.
The event, which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., will feature sessions for parents as well as free screenings and childcare.
For more information, email Tina King.