An estimated 9,232 children in South Carolina are deaf or hard of hearing and are not identified or receiving appropriate interventions.

Beginnings SC is working to change that with the launch of their statewide awareness campaign, “Ready, Set, Screen.” The campaign’s goal is to ensure more children ages birth to 18 receive free hearing screenings and to encourage parents and care providers to make sure hearing checks happen.

“Beginnings SC is working to bring awareness to the impacts of hearing loss on children and their families and provide them with critical services,” said Cara Smithwick, Executive Director. “As a parent, I know firsthand how important early identification is to a child’s development and growth. A hearing screening followed by a referral to support resources can make a big difference in the well-being of a child and their family.”

In collaboration with pediatricians, child care providers and community partners, Beginnings SC is offering free hearing screenings across the state.

On July 31, Beginnings SC is partnering with the SC Association of the Deaf, SC Hands and Voices, Irmo Fire Department and SC First Sound to host a Back to School Bash that includes the first screening event at Seven Oaks Park located at 200 Leisure Lane in Columbia. The event will include vendors specific to deaf and hard of Hearing families, free hearing screenings, and giveaways that include backpacks and school supplies. Registration is required to receive school supplies.

“As children and families are preparing to return to school this fall, we want to make sure hearing screenings are top of the back to school list,” said Mary Reaves, Director of Programs. “Oftentimes hearing loss can be misidentified as behavioral issues because a child may simply not be able to hear instructions given by a parent or teacher.”

To learn more about partnering with Beginnings SC or to schedule a hearing screening, visit:

Beginnings SC provides knowledge and individualized planning strategies for parents, professionals, and communities to promote successful outcomes for children who are deaf or hard of hearing in South Carolina. Beginnings SC educates, advocates and facilitates for and with parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. To learn more visit our website at

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