Irish Babies Receive Hearing Screening

A baby’s hearing is vital. In the UK, around 840 babies are born each year with a permanent hearing loss in both ears.

It is essential to be screened as early as possible because if not identified early, a hearing loss can seriously hinder language and communication development and have a long term impact on confidence, social skills and educational achievement.

The earlier a hearing impairment is picked up, the better the outcome the baby will have and the smaller the chance it may have to wear a resound hearing aid or siemens hearing aid.

It is due to this that babies born in Ireland are having their hearing screened even before they leave the hospital.

The tests, which are free, offer parents of all baby boys and girls born at Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) a hearing screening before being discharged.

Peter O’Sullivan, consultant ear nose and throat surgeon and chairman of the Cork new-born hearing screening implementation group, said: “It is very important to screen all babies at an early stage. In Ireland, one to two babies in every 1,000 are born with a hearing loss in one or both ears. Most babies born with a hearing loss are born into families with no history of hearing loss.”

For those babies who fail in having clear hearing in one or both ears will have a full hearing assessment at an audiology clinic shortly after they have been released home.

The screener uses two non-invasive tests to monitor the baby’s hearing whilst asleep or settled.

Dr Brendan Paul Murphy, consultant neonatologist, at CUMH, said: “Babies who spend time in a special care baby unit have a higher incidence of hearing loss; these babies will be tested during their time in the unit.”

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