Milestone for baby hearing programme

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a BABY hearing testing programme in Barnsley is celebrating its 10th birthday.

The Newborn Hearing Screening Programme at Barnsley Hospital has tested 24,000 babies since it was introduced in April 2002.

The programme, which was rolled out nationally in 2006, identifies moderate, severe and profound deafness and hearing impairment in newborn babies.

The hospital’s four-strong team of hearing screeners work seven days a week to offer parents the opportunity to have their baby’s hearing tested shortly after birth.

More than 80 per cent of babies are screened before they are discharged from hospital and 98.5 per cent are seen within four weeks of birth.

Linda Abbot, who is the manager of the programme, said: “The hearing test is quick and easy and isn’t uncomfortable to babies – in fact it is often easier to do it when the baby is asleep.

“In Barnsley the test has helped to identify a permanent hearing impairment for more than 80 babies. They then go on to receive care and support from a range of services such as paediatric audiology and education services who ensure development is supported from the earliest age possible.

“All of the teams involved in the programme in Barnsley work extremely hard to ensure all eligible babies are screened as soon as possible.

“I would like to thank midwives and health visitors because without their help and support this could not have been achieved.”