Hearing & Vision Checks For Preschool Children

Hearing & Vision Checks For Preschool Children

Your child's hearing and vision will be discussed with you at various Well Child checks before your child turns 4 years of age. If your child does have a hearing or vision problem, finding it early is good for their learning and development.

Key points to remember about hearing and vision checks for preschool children

  • your child's hearing and vision will be discussed with you at various Well Child checks before your child turns 4 years of age
  • the eighth and final Well Child check is called the B4 School Check and happens when your child is 4 years of age
  • if you have concerns about your child's vision or hearing at any time, take your child for an assessment
  • if your child does have a hearing or vision problem, finding it early is good for their learning and development

What hearing checks does my preschool child need?

Your child will have a hearing check as part of their B4 School Check. Vision and hearing technicians usually do this.

You will get the results of this screening in the mail or your child will bring them home with them. The information you receive explains the results of the screening and how your child can get a further assessment, if they need it. See:

  • 'Referral for a full assessment' (B4 School Hearing Screening), (also available in Māori, Samoan, Tongan, Korean, Hindi, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese)

What if my child doesn't have their hearing screened when they are 4?

If your child doesn't have their hearing screened at 4 years of age, it's important they have this screening in their first year at school. This screening picks up most hearing problems.

If your child missed their screening, contact your child's school to make sure the vision hearing technician screens your child on their next visit.

This information is also available in a Ministry of Health leaflet 'Keeping an eye on your child's hearing' (B4 School hearing screening), (available in English and Māori, Samoan, Tongan, Korean, Hindi, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese).

Will my child have another hearing check when they at school?

After your child has their hearing checked at 4 or 5 years of age, they will not have another hearing check at school.

If you are concerned about your child's hearing, it's important that you visit your family doctor. Your doctor may refer your child to the hospital for an assessment by a hearing specialist (audiologist).

If your child does have a hearing problem, finding out early is good for their learning and development.

What vision checks does my preschool child need?

Vision and hearing technicians will screen your child for lazy eye (amblyopia) as part of the B4 School Check. See common eye problems in children.

Your child will either 'pass' this screening or they will get a referral for a full assessment.

You will get the results of this screening in the mail or your child will bring them home with them. If your child needs further assessment, the results will explain what you need to do.

How do I know if my child has a vision problem?

Your child may have a vision problem if they:

  • have learning or reading difficulties
  • are clumsier than usual for their age
  • screw their eyes up or tilt their head to see
  • have frequent headaches

Your child will not have their vision checked again until they are in Year 7. If you are concerned about your child's vision or eyes, make sure you take your child to an optometrist or ophthalmologist. If your child does have a vision problem, finding it early is good for their learning and development.

What if my child passes their vision screening?

Screening doesn't cover all vision problems. It won't tell you if your child needs glasses.

Remember, screening doesn't cover all vision problems. The vision test checks for a big difference between your child's eyes. It won't tell you if your child needs glasses.

Some children who passed this screen may have other vision problems or could develop a vision problem later. See common eye problems in children

This information is also available in a Ministry of Health leaflet 'Keeping an eye on your child's vision' (available in English and Māori, Samoan, Tongan, Korean, Hindi, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese). It's for parents of children who have passed the vision screen. 

What if my child is referred for a full vision assessment?

If your child is referred for a full assessment, see the Ministry of Health leaflet:

Referral for a full vision assessment: Vision Screening (Ministry of Health)

What if my child doesn't have their vision screened when they are 4?

If your child doesn't have their vision screened for lazy eye (amblyopia) at 4 years of age, it's important they have this screening done in their first year at school.

If your child missed their screening, contact your child's school to make sure the vision hearing technician screens your child on their next visit.

This screening does not find all vision problems. See common eye problems in children

What if I have questions about my child's vision screening?

If you have questions about your child's vision screening, call the Ministry of Health's free 24-hour health advice service, Healthline (0800 611 116) or talk to the vision hearing technician who screened your child, an optometrist, ophthalmologist or your family doctor.

This page last reviewed 15 August 2019.
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