The principal of the Kelston Deaf Education Centre has welcomed the national roll-out of a screening programme to test the hearing of newborn babies.
David Foster says New Zealand has lagged internationally, taking up to three years to identify hearing problems in toddlers.
He says early detection means early intervention, such as exposing children to sign language younger.
He told Waatea News that their chances of education success in later life are hugely enhanced.
Mr Foster said Maori children are disproportionally affected by hearing problems.