Healthy Hearing

The purpose of Healthy Hearing is to:

  • screen the hearing of athletes and notify athletes and their coaches if follow-up care is needed
  • provide corrective (hearing aids) and preventative (custom swim earplugs) services where possible, and
  • study the prevalence of hearing loss in athletes competing in Special Olympics events.

During a Healthy Hearing screening, athletes are directed through two registration/checkout desks and four screening stations. Many Special Olympics athletes require only the first two stations, examining the ear canals for cerumen (earwax) and an otoacoustic (OAE) hearing screening of both ears.

If athletes pass the OAE station, they exit the screening area. If they do not pass, they are checked again using tympanometry (middle ear) and pure tone screening. Upon completion of of all examinations and screenings, the athlete receives a copy of Special Olympic’s screening report form, which includes follow-up recommendations. Special Olympics Minnesota has partnered with the University of Minnesota Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences to provide hearing screenings.