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Newborn Hearing Screening

Implementing a Newborn Hearing Screening and Early Intervention Programme in New Zealand

In May 2006 the New Zealand Government announced that it would fund a universal newborn hearing screening programme for all New Zealand children. The first stage of this programme was rolled out on the 1st July 2007 in three district health boards with existing programmes: Waikato, Tairawhiti and Hawkes Bay. It is envisioned that the screening will be available nationwide by 2010.

Approximately 170 children per year are born in New Zealand with permanent congenital hearing loss. In New Zealand during the past five years the average age for the detection of permanent hearing loss which is moderate or greater in severity is between 3 and 4 years of age. This means that when children are finally diagnosed with a hearing impairment they are behind their peers in many areas of development, particularly language acquisition, and they often never catch up. Through screening, early detection and intervention is possible and these babies have a much greater chance of reaching their potential.

Newborn hearing screening and early intervention programmes are operating across the developed world, and the New Zealand Audiological Society supports the introduction of a national programme in this country. In fact, the work of members of the audiological society will be crucial in the diagnosis and intervention components of New Zealand's programme.

To find out more about the New Zealand newborn hearing screening and early intervention programme follow the links below:

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If you would like to download the Newborn Hearing Screening Protocols from the NSU website please click here

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Brochures developed by the Ministry of Health can be downloaded below.

Your Baby's Hearing Screening

Explains the benefits of newborn hearing screening and the procedures used.

Newborn Hearing Screen Results

Explaining that a baby has passed its newborn hearing screening, including a checklist for parents to keep monitoring their baby's hearing.

Repeat Newborn Hearing Screening

Explaining why a further hearing screening test may be necessary.

Newborn Hearing Screening: Referral to an Audiologist

Explaining why further hearing screening tests may be required; the procedures used and that help is available if hearing loss is detected.

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