Newborn 2000 checked for hearing

GYMPIE Hospital has reached another milestone with baby number 2000 screened for healthy hearing recently.

Little Enzo Drew, underwent a non-invasive procedure to check for healthy hearing and was given the all clear.

Gympie Maternity Women's Health Unit has been screening babies to check for healthy hearing since September 2006; one or two babies out of every 1000 will have a significant hearing loss.

Maternity Nurse Unit Manager, Kathy Preston, said the free healthy hearing screening program helps to identify babies born with a permanent hearing loss before they reach three months of age.

"The program also ensures appropriate diagnosis and early intervention for those babies found to have a hearing loss," she said.

"Healthy hearing is critical to a child's speech and language development from the earliest months of life.

"If hearing problems are detected early, and treatment begins before babies are six months old, the child has a stronger chance of heading off future communication, health and learning problems.

"If a baby receives a result that indicates hearing loss, they are referred to an Audiologist for further tests and follow up."

The hearing screening is carried out by a midwife or trained nurse. Small sensor pads are placed on the baby's head and soft clicking sounds are played into the ears via earphones.

Sensor pads record the response from the baby as the sound travels from the ear through the auditory nervous system to the brain.

"Ideally, hearing screening should take place before a newborn baby leaves the hospital," Ms Preston said.

"For parents, it is a relief to know that their baby can hear as this is such an important aspect of a child's development."

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