As kids return to school, New York parents are encouraged to ensure their kids are getting yearly checkups.
According to the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, the number of patients younger than 18 increased by about 1% between 2020 and 2021. However, the number has fluctuated since 2017.
Dr. Donna O’Shea, national chief medical officer of population health for UnitedHealthcare, said although parents can get plenty of tests done by their child’s pediatrician, schools offer hearing tests.
“Like vision and dental, early-detection of hearing issues is crucial for getting treatment as soon as possible,” O’Shea emphasized. “That’s really important because hearing loss can affect a child’s ability to develop speech, language and social skills.”
O’Shea recommended children follow the “60-60 rule,” meaning they should only use earbuds or headphones for less than 60 minutes at no more than 60% of the player’s maximum volume.
She added parents should ensure their children practice healthy habits using technology. O’Shea provided tips on how to ensure kids use technology while preventing eye strain.
“Make sure the computer screens are at least 30 inches away or to make sure that you or your child are taking breaks every 20 minutes from the screens,” O’Shea advised. “Consider investing in screen protectors or computer monitors that help limit that exposure to blue light.”
To keep a person’s 20-20 vision, some recommend using the 20-20-20 rule, which involves taking a break from using a screen after 20 minutes, by taking a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away.
Edwin is a reporter and producer in North Tonawanda, New York. He’s previously reported for the Niagara Gazette and the Ithaca Times. Edwin got an early start in radio interning for WBFO-88.7FM, NPR’s Buffalo affiliate. In 2018, he graduated from SUNY Buffalo State College with a B.A. in Journalism, and in 2022, graduated from Syracuse University with an M.S. in Communications.