SUNSET PARK, Brooklyn (PIX11) – Whether at the playground or in the classroom, suffering from unknown hearing loss can put children at a major disadvantage.
“It can severely impact them in their day-to-day life, but especially with their development and learning,” Victoria Lancaster of NYU Langone said.
NYU Langone developed a hearing screening program for low-income immigrant families in the New York City area to help with early intervention. The technology doesn’t require the child to respond to cues, and the small device sits like an earphone.
“In a minute, it’s able to tell you whether you have passed or failed,” Moses Mansu, a program director at NYU Langone, said. “It’s a very simple test which our community members can be trained to perform.”
The hospital trained community partners like schools and faith-based organizations to test the hearing of young children in immigrant communities.
Bibi Esahack is the executive director of Bay Ridge Community Development Center.
“With our community, they see people that look like them,” Esahack said. “It’s not a hospital [or] clinical kind of setting, but it’s really being done right here either in their own school or their own community center.”
If an issue is found, the children are referred to a doctor. On Wednesday, the priest conducted the screenings at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church and the catholic academy in Brooklyn. He said a negative test may not always mean hearing impairment.
“It may just be an obstacle in the ear or possibly ear wax, but the beautiful realization is all these things can be cured,” said Father Michael Cunningham. “There’s an avenue to make the ear whole once again.”
After the screening, the children walked out with a gift to go along with their gift of sound.
A donation by Larry Silverstein supports the program. Silverstein owns the World Trade Center and is impacted by hearing loss.
There will be more screenings at more locations in Brooklyn listed below. The program also will expand to Long Island.