Why are Hearing Screenings Important?
Children learn most of their speech and language skills by three years of age. Normal hearing is required to hear speech sounds properly.
Even a mild or temporary hearing loss can result in a speech and language delay. Ear infections can cause temporary hearing loss in young children. Routine hearing tests can help prevent long term hearing problems and speech/ language delays.
The Pueblo Audiology Program provides hearing screenings each year for all Pueblo children in Head Start. We also screen school-aged children and participate in Child Finds.
How is My Child’s Hearing Checked?
The hearing screening consists of three parts:
- Otoscopic evaluation: We check your child’s ears for wax or objects that could interfere with hearing. We also look at the eardrum for redness or swelling.
- Middle ear screening: This test is very quick and painless. It shows if an ear infection is present by putting a small amount of air into the ear canal to move the eardrum. If the eardrum moves normally, there is no fluid or infection in the ear. If there is no eardrum movement, it may mean that your child has an ear infection. This can cause a temporary hearing loss and requires a visit to the doctor. It is usually treated with antibiotics.
- Pure Tone Hearing Screening: To check hearing, children are asked to point to their ears when a soft sound is heard through headphones.
For very young children, we use a test called an OAE screener. This quick and painless test delivers sound to the ear and the screener receives a response from the inner ear.
Both tests check the hearing at a very soft level to make sure that your child is able to hear the soft sounds of speech.
What If My Child Fails the Hearing Screening?
If your child passes all three parts of the hearing screening, you will NOT be notified.
If your child fails the otoscopic examination (too much wax in the ear, for example) or the middle ear test, your child will be referred to his or her physician. Following medical treatment, your child will be re-tested.
If your child fails the pure tone hearing screening, he or she will be retested within a month. If the child fails again, your child will be referred for a complete hearing test with the audiologist.
Failing the hearing screening does NOT mean that your child has a hearing loss. However, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you follow the recommendations given to you. This is the only way to rule out a serious hearing problem and prevent speech, language, and learning delays.
The Audiology Program
The Audiology Program, under the direction of the Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board, Inc., is committed to providing high quality audiology care to the communities.
We provide services to all ages, from infants to elders. Our program offers hearing aids at a very low cost, making them affordable for most people.
Weekly audiology clinics are held at:
- Albuquerque Indian Hospital
Monthly audiology clinics are held at:
- Alamo Health Center
- Canoncito Health Center
- Pine Hill Health
- Mescalero PHS Hospital
Bi-weekly audiology clinics are held at:
- Jicarilla Health Center
- Southern Ute Health Center
- Ute Mountain Ute Health Center
A doctor’s referral is not needed for an audiology appointment.
Contact the hospital, clinic or CHR program in your community to make an appointment.
The Audiology Program Staff
Our staff consists of professional licensed and certified audiologists as well as an audiometric technician. Our goal is to make a difference in the hearing health of our Pueblo communities.
- Chris Atkinson, Program Manager
- Todd Powell, AuD., Audiologist
- Margie Mexicano, Audiology Technician
If you would like more information regarding our services, please call us at (505) 764-0036.