VALDOSTA – The Georgia DPH’s South Health District in partnership with Georgia Mobile Audiology and VSU hosted a free hearing test event.
The Georgia Department of Public Health’s South Health District in conjunction with Georgia Mobile Audiology and Valdosta State University, hosted a free hearing test event at VSU on May 20.
During the event more than 30 children were provided with free hearing tests as well as screenings for speech delays and other concerns. The event focused on children, between 0-5 years old, and if necessary referrals were made to appropriate programs or providers for follow up.
In addition to the free screenings, families were able to receive gift cards, diapers or wipes as incentives. Games and snacks were also available for children and families.
“This event was a huge hit, and we are incredibly proud,” said Early Intervention Coordinator with Babies Can’t Wait (BCW), Jessie Judkins. “Many families are not aware of the services available within public health and our community. Events like this allow us to meet these families where they are without them needing to come to the health department.”
Babies Can’t Wait is public health’s early intervention program which serves children who have significant developmental delays or children who may be at risk for delays due to a diagnosed medical condition. The program provides services to children, ages birth to 3, and their families.
“We know the need within our community is great and we hope to be able to host more events like this in the future,” District Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Coordinator Catina Everett explained. “We also want to remind parents that if they have any concerns about their child’s hearing or speech, let their healthcare provider know. The sooner that concerns or delays are addressed, the better.”
The EHDI program along with birthing hospitals ensures every baby receives a hearing screen at birth prior to hospital discharge. If the baby does not pass the initial or outpatient re-screening, a Diagnostic hearing evaluation is needed before 3 months. If hearing loss is detected, intervention and support services should be started by 6 months of age. This 1-3-6 guideline was developed to give the baby the best possible time frame to be screened, diagnosed, and treated, if necessary. The earlier a baby is determined to have a hearing loss and begins receiving services, the more likely that speech, language, and social skills will reach their full potential.
To contact Babies Can’t Wait call (229)245-6565. To contact Early Hearing Detection and Intervention call (229) 293-6286.
For more information on South Health District’s programs, visit https://southhealthdistrict.com/programs-services/.