Approximately 2 in every 1000 babies born will have what is termed a moderate, severe or profound hearing loss. It is an unfortunate fact that only around 25% of children born with hearing impairments are diagnosed by the age of 12 months.
When hearing loss remains unmanaged it can lead to poor language development in early childhood and lower educational achievements and employment opportunities later on in life. We are aware from overseas reports that newborn hearing screening programs can detect hearing problems and help many children achieve normal language skills.
Newborn hearing screening programs involve testing your baby’s hearing in the first few days to few weeks after the birth, depending on where the baby is born. When babies are found to have a possible hearing impairment they can be referred for further investigation and follow up.
Hearing impairment in babies is often related to certain risk factors such as being premature, having head and neck abnormalities and having a family history of early hearing impairment. Not all babies with hearing impairments, however, have a risk factor. Early diagnosis and intervention can dramatically improve outcomes for children with hearing impairments.
Resources from the SWISH Program – NSW Health
Published 21st March 2020
Reviewed 27th June 2021