Berrien Co. Health Department offers free vision and hearing screenings for children: What signs to look out for in vision and hearing loss in children

BERRIEN CO., Mich., -- Most kids get their vision and hearing checked at school, but what about those students that are homeschooled or are e-learners? 

The Berrien County Health Department is offering a free clinic Wednesday for those that may not have in-school access.  

The walk-in clinic is held on January 4 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Berrien County Health Department facilities in Niles and in Benton Harbor.

It’s open to any child from five to 16 years old, and it's not exclusive to people living in Berrien County. 

Hearing and vision coordinator for the Berrien County Health Department, Melisa Jordan says could cause kids to fall behind. 

 “Seeing and hearing go hand-in-hand with learning,” said Jordan. “You learn phonetically as well as visually, so if you're not hearing or seeing what is being taught to you, then you were losing some critical education.”  

According to the Center for Hearing Loss and Communication, three million children have some form of hearing loss, and even a mild hearing loss can cause a child to miss 50% of class.

It’s important to get treated early, an issue like Amblyopia, which reduces vision in one eye, can be corrected if found before age six.  

Children may not be able to directly communicate their needs and that’s why the Berrien County Health Department is offering these screenings to get kids the help they need.   

“Unfortunately, sometimes hearing loss does not even go noticed until we step in and say, ‘hey did you know that your student does have a hearing loss?’ It could be something mild because the kids' used to the parent's voice or the sounds around them and they aren't hearing the lower frequency," said Jordan. 

Signs of hearing loss in children include: 

  • The child not responding to you from time to time. 
  • The child asks for the TV volume to be louder than other members of the family. 
  • The child says “huh” or “what” often. 
  • It may seem the child is not paying attention at home or in school.  

Read more hearing loss symptoms in children here.

Signs of vision loss in children may include: 

  • The child appears to have a short attention span. 
  • The child loses their places when reading or avoids reading altogether. 
  • The child may tilt their head from side to side to look at something.   

Read more about vision loss in children here.

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