Kindergarten plays host to hear screening

Not for profit organisation SENESE Inclusive Education Support Services is rolling out hearing screening in schools in a partnership with the Ministries of Health and Education.

On Wednesday staff from SENESE were at the Sisdac Agape Kindergarten doing screening on the hearing of young children, targeting the pre-school students.
The free services were well received by the Sisdac Agape Kindergarten administration as well as the parents of the children who were checked.

Lupe Satuala, who is a hearing nurse with SENESE, told the Samoa Observer that they have checked more than 200 children from different preschools over the last two days.

"The goal of this program is to check children's hearing in preschool to target if they have hearing problems before they grow up so it could be cured,” she told the Samoa Observer.

SENESE Early Learning Coordinator, Malama Parker, said children who are diagnosed with hearing problems are referred to the M.O.H. for treatment.

 "We will refer children with medical hearing problems to the Ministry of Health for ear treatments,” she said. 

“If it's confirmed that a child has hearing problems or has hearing loss they will refer back to us to test which level it is at."

Sisdac Agape Kindergarten Principal, Iulieta Pelenato, said their partnership with SENESE to access the hearing screening service began two years ago.

She said the service is important for young children to be checked if they have hearing problems before they grow older. 

“It will be difficult for children with hearing problems to catch up with them. We made good contact with them when we found out about their hearing problems.”

The SENESE project will be implemented over three weeks with Wednesday being their third day on the road visiting different preschools. The hearing screening program will cover all preschools in Upolu and Savai'i. 

According to national screening data released by the local authorities in 2019, 51.7 per cent of the children had wax blocking at least one ear, and 7.8 per cent of children had untreated ear infections, which were referred to the National Hospital.

The first national hearing screening was conducted by SENESE and the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture.

Over a three week period in 2019, they screened 3,973 children, which is over half of Year 1 children (according to M.E.S.C data) for hearing and ear health. In 196 children, the team found foreign bodies like rocks, sand, beads, cotton and insects. And in one child, audiologist Haylene Goh found a rusting hearing aid battery.

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