Test to screen for hearing issues in newborn babies

Published 21/11/2012 | 10:19

Two-day-old Jamie McGuinness has her hearing tested by Yvonne Flanagan and Siobhan Kinsella while still in the arms of her parents, Bernadette and Anthony, at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.

PARENTS OF all babies born at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital are now being offered the opportunity to have their baby's hearing tested prior to being discharged from hospital.

This new service has been introduced as part of a national newborn hearing screening programme being rolled out by the HSE in maternity units and maternity hospitals across Ireland.

'It is not easy to identify that a young baby has a hearing loss,' said Dr Ireti Farombi, Consultant Paediatrician at Our Lady of Lourdes,

' The hearing screening test will allow those babies who do have a hearing loss to be identified early. Early identification is known to be important for the development of the child. It also means that support and information can be provided to parents at an early stage.'

One to two babies in every 1,000 born in Ireland are born with a hearing loss in one or both ears and most are born into families with no history of hearing loss so it is important to screen all babies as early as possible.

If these children are not identified early, they are at risk of delayed speech development and communication skills, possibly impacting on their educational achievements and ability to integrate socially.

The hearing test which is free-of-charge for all babies will be carried out by a trained hearing screener, while the baby is settled or sleeping. The screener uses two non-invasive tests to screen the newborns' hearing with neither test causing any discomfort to the baby.

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