30 Apr 2010

Hearing screening widens

12:03 pm on 30 April 2010

Health officials say hearing screening for newborns is becoming more widely available. Only two districts are yet to begin offering it.

In today's issue of the New Zealand Medical Journal, cochlear implant surgeons stress the importance of early detection of hearing loss, to help children learn to speak.

The Ministry of Health is introducing a universal screening programme to cut the average age of detection from three to four years, to three months.

Jane McEntee of the National Screening Unit says 15 DHBs now offer screening throughout their regions.

Others in Auckland and Palmerston North are introducing it in their main hospitals first.

Southland and Otago are yet to offer screening.