Skip to content

NEF 2020


For most children, communication development and learning occur through vision and hearing. The loss of vision and hearing limits access to auditory and visual information, and children who are deaf-blind require educational services individualized to their learning styles and abilities. Most also have additional disabilities or medical conditions, further intensifying academic support needs.

Many things can cause vision loss in children, including:

  • Eye conditions that have been inherited
  • The influence of preterm birth on the child’s eyes and brain; and
  • Other conditions that children are born with or develop as they grow.

Different parts of the visual system can be affected, such as:

  • The eye
  • The connections between the eye and the brain
  • The elements of the brain are involved in vision.

The importance of early intervention

A tailored approach to early intervention is essential for children who are blind or have low vision to ensure:

  • All areas of their development are on track and not delayed
  • They have early access to literacy by introducing assistive technology, low vision aids, and/or braille, as required
  • They have early access to orientation and mobility support.

The things can cause hearing loss in children

Some people are born deaf or hard of hearing. For others, hearing loss may develop quickly or over time. There’s no single cause of hearing loss—but here are a few:

  • Genetic conditions
  • Contracting particular types of infections during pregnancy
  • Craniofacial (the parts of the head that enclose the brain and face) abnormalities
  • Head trauma or damage to the eardrum
  • Exposure to loud noises – this can affect hearing gradually or immediately in the case of an extremely loud burst of sound

Are there different types of hearing loss?

Yes, and we’re glad you asked. Hearing loss is described according to which part of the ear is affected. Hearing loss can be:

  • Conductive hearing loss
  • Sensorineural hearing loss
  • Mixed hearing loss
  • Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder

NEF 20/20 also offers screening services to adult individuals, especially
in rural areas experiencing a combined loss of vision and hearing and their families.


Although computer monitors are not overtly harmful to the eyes, safety concerns may result if eyeglass prescriptions are not up-to-date and regular eye exams do not occur. This is especially important in today’s homes and workplaces, where eighty percent of all employees work on a personal computer.

Recreational noise is a leading source of hearing problems. We are bombarded daily by noise. Ironically, dangerous sound levels often come from activities we choose to do.

Thousands of community residents, especially in rural areas, are experiencing hearing and vision loss and will never seek treatment because they believe they can’t afford it. The problem is even those who are employed may struggle to pay because most insurance does not cover vision eyewear and hearing aids. However, it’s possible to see a day when no person is prevented from full participation due to vision and hearing loss. To that end, we have started to invest in preserving the vision of the residents of our communities. Without the generosity of our partners, many neighbors may continue to suffer in isolation in silence.