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Neonatal Hearing Screening. Erewan, September 2009

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Abstract of presentation by Dr. Monika Lehnhardt on Neonatal Hearing Screening in Europe

Abstract of presentation by Dr. Monika Lehnhardt on Neonatal Hearing Screening in Europe

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  • 1. Abstract for Conference in Erewan, September 4, 2009 “Neonatal Hearing Screening – A survey on the current situation worldwide” Dr. Dr. h.c. Monika Lehnhardt – Prof. Ernst Lehnhardt-Foundation, Badenweiler, Germany Statistics worldwide agree: a significant hearing impairment is the most frequent disorder in newborns. Depending on the applied protocol 1 – 3 babies out of 1.000 are identified to be bilaterally severely hearing impaired. In the group of risk babies it is 2 – 4 out of 100. The high level of incidence and the proven long-term negative effects of a severe hearing impairment or deafness on the development of the child as a personality sufficiently justify neonatal hearing screening for all newborns. The availability of appropriate technology to identify the problem and to intervene professionally with excellent chances for success to integrate and to include the child into the world of hearing is another convincing factor. In January 2009 – after 10 years of lobbying – a law to introduce neonatal hearing screening was finally passed in Germany. The responsibility for implementation, however, lies with the federal countries and differs greatly as a consequence. As major obstacles to a high quality implementation all over the country we identified lack of suitable test equipment, insufficiently trained personnel, lack of central data processing and administration, insufficient counselling of parents and serious problems in financing. In many other countries in Europe, in the US and in Canada the situation is much better. Examples in Europe are Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Poland and Croatia. In some countries neonatal hearing screening is in a start-up phase (e.g. Russia), some countries are still a “white spot” (e.g. Africa, many Asian countries).

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