To identify permanent or temporary hearing loss.
To identify eye infections and visual impairment
By performing regular vision and hearing screenings, we are armed with early detection and can then red-flag these factors – which have a direct and very negative impact on a child’s ability to focus, concentrate and learn in class.
With a combined 32 years of experience, Mandy van den Berg and Ceri Soulsby have been involved in school hearing screenings in the private sector in Johannesburg for over 15 years. During this time they’ve screened more than 12 000 children. Their new venture “Hear To Learn” will provide basic hearing and vision screening as part of the HeadStartc Kids programme. The hearing and vision screenings are inexpensive, easy to administer and the equipment is easily transportable. The aim of the hearing screening is to identify hearing loss, even mild or only in one ear, that could impact on a child’s education. Trying to learn in a classroom, when the teacher’s voice is muffled or unclear, or the group participation from all the students is not heard, makes effective learning extremely hard. The same is true for the effect on learning reading, writing, spelling and a number of other skills, from undetected and untreated visual problems.
The Hear To Learn programme checks the ear canals, eardrums and the hearing sensitivity for soft sounds in the Hearing sector and runs a basic visual acuity check in the Vision sector.
Using cloud-based software, appropriate management can be put into place should a problem be identified. Field workers can be trained to do the screenings in the rural areas, while the audiologists manage the programme, check results, arrange referrals and collect statistics.
Through this, we aim to provide an opportunity to develop a framework for national screening, and this has a direct and massive bearing on educational outcomes in South Africa.