Program Purpose:

To discover hearing and vision deficiencies at an early age and refer into medical treatment so that developmental progress is not diminished.

Target Population:

All children of school age up to the 9th grade.

Description of Services:

Both the Children's Vision Screening Program and the Children's Hearing Screening Program are mandated programs of Michigan's Health Code and are also requirements of Michigan's Education Laws. Each year approximately 5,000 children participate in these programs conducted in area schools by certified technicians. Costs for each program are shared by the health department and school district.

Vision Screening:

The four vision tests performed are:

Visual Acuity using the 20/30 Snellen E symbols

Hyperopia - using the 20/20 Snellen E symbols while looking through a plus 1.75 sphere lens

Phoria - a test for eye muscle balance

Symptom referral - observable strabismus, ptosis, and nystagmus.

Hearing Screening:

There are three stages of screening: preliminary, threshold, and medical referral. About 5% of all children screened require a medical referral. Children who are referred are assisted by local health department staff to obtain a medical evaluation either from a private provider or a MDCH, Children's Special Health Care Services (CSHCS) sponsored otology clinic. County health departments provide initial screening, retesting, and referral of children who do not pass the threshold testing.

Additionally, follow-up is required to assure that service was received or to facilitate the child receiving service from a CSHCS otology clinic. Local health departments also provide community education on hearing conservation.

Benefits of Services:

Both programs has been very successful in identifying children with vision and/or hearing problems. Approximately 8% of all children screened in the vision program are referred to an ophthalmologist, while 4% of all children screened in the hearing program are referred to the otology clinic. Of those numbers, 80 to 90% of these children are found to have medical conditions requiring treatment. These services are very efficient and cost effective programs that have improved the developmental progress of children that may have otherwise been delayed due to the inability to see or hear properly.

For more information on this program, please contact:

Marnie Besonen
Hearing & Vision Screening Coordinator
Marquette County Health Department
184 US 41 East
Negaunee, Michigan 49866
(906) 315-2611 (phone)
(906) 475-6500 (fax)