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Newborn hearing screening turns 10

16 May 2019

Newborn hearing screening turns 10

Little Indie Addy recently joined the thousands of newborns to have their hearing screened in Wellington each year.

Capital & Coast DHB has now been offering newborn hearing screening for 10 years, with around 99 percent of babies born in the maternity facilities undergoing screening within their first month.

Babies can be screened at hospital or at home. Screeners use a beraphone, which is placed over the baby’s ear and plays soft clicking sound while the baby sleeps. The response from the baby’s hearing nerve is picked up by sensors placed on their head – this is called an automated auditory brainstem response or an aABR screen.

Last year, 43 newborns – out of 3305 screened – were referred to audiology for a full diagnostic assessment.

The screen is designed to pick up moderate to profound hearing loss. Swift detection enables early assistance that can make a huge difference with language, learning and social skills.

Hearing aids can be fitted during the baby’s first months, and cochlear implants from six months for babies with severe-profound and profound hearing loss.

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