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Testing detects hearing loss in babies

2012-09-04

AT just a few days old a simple hearing test for newborn Kailanah Brent could help set his path through school, work and beyond.
Paediatric specialists say a hearing test, such as those administered to Kailanah and other youngsters in the Hunter in their first few days of life, are crucial.

Introducing sounds and monitoring brain waves, or lack thereof, can detect and treat deafness that in the past would have hampered every aspect of a child’s life from education to socialisation.

Health authorities are reminding parents of the importance of hearing tests for newborn babies as part of Hearing Awareness Week.

NSW Infant Screening Hearing is a free program, offered in maternity units, community health centres and in the home, where required.

It is designed to detect and treat hearing problems before a baby is six months old to help the child’s long-term development.

John Hunter Children’s Hospital senior staff paediatrician Laurence Roddick said screening was done at a crucial age.

 The learning of the human brain is greatest in the first year and the second most in the second year,’’ he said.

The John Hunter was one of three children’s hospitals in NSW which does the screening.

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