A girl in a pink shirt raises her hand to indicate to the woman behind her that she can hear the sound.

Childhood hearing loss has lifelong consequences. Hearing screening in schools is an important start to identification and treatment. A common problem is follow-up from school hearing screenings: many children who are screened at school and referred to a hearing specialist do not receive this follow-up care. In rural Kentucky, it can be particularly difficult for parents and families to get follow-up care because hearing specialists can be hard to find.

To address some of those challenges, the Appalachian STAR Trial is looking at bringing follow-up into the school where the children already are on a daily basis. This is possible with telehealth, a technology that allows for virtual visits with hearing specialists. There are 4 main components to this project that we are hoping to address and adapt:

  1. Enhanced School Hearing Screening
  2. Telehealth Hearing Specialist Evaluation
  3. Exchange of Health Information between Schools and Clinics
  4. Communication with Family & Primary Care Providers

Our goal is to test this new program within the 14 school districts that we are working with and then take what we’ve learned and expand the program to other rural communities who face the same challenges and barriers to care.

Please see the press release about the project: 

A graphic showing teh connection between School Hearing Screening and Hearing Specialist Evaluation as being Exchange of Health Information Between School and Clinic

How do I learn More?

For more information, email our research team at or call us at 859-363-6207.