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National Newborn Hearing Screening Programme goes live at Galway University Hospitals

The National Newborn Hearing Screening Programme has been introduced at Galway University Hospitals (GUH). Newborn hearing screening has been part of the service at the hospital for a number of years and in 2011 the HSE contracted Northgate Information Solutions to roll out a national screening programme at all maternity hospitals in the country.
Mr John Lang, Ear Nose and Throat Consultant, GUH said, “We are delighted to have been able to provide a hearing screening service to over 35,000 babies born at the hospital during the past ten years since we introduced routine hearing screening. We welcome the development of a national screening service which means that hearing screening will be provided to all babies born in Ireland.”
Ms Orla O’Hara, Senior Audiologist at the hospital commented on the significance of early screening. She said, “One to two babies in every 1,000 are born with a hearing loss; most of these babies are born to families with no history of such loss. Early diagnosis, treatment and support have a significant impact on the baby’s development, speech and language, education and help him or her to achieve his or her full potential in life. For this reason we introduced newborn hearing screening at the hospital in 2003.
“Now the national programme is being rolled out at the hospital with effect from 23 July 2013. A very small number of babies will require further testing and any necessary follow up from the initial screens will be undertaken by the Audiology Services here in UHG and Galway Community Services.”
Newborn Hearing Screening
The screening test is usually done before the baby leaves the hospital. A trained hearing screener carries out the test. The screener places a small soft tipped earpiece in the outer part of the baby's ear which sends clicking sounds down the ear. When an ear receives sound, the inner part, known as the cochlea, usually produces an echo. The screening equipment can pick up this echo. The screening test only takes a few minutes and does not hurt the baby.
The rollout of the National Newborn Hearing Screening Programme will continue in late summer with the introduction of the programme in Portiuncula Hospital Ballinasloe and Mayo General Hospital.
Photo Details
The National Newborn Hearing Screening Programme commenced at Galway University Hospitals on 23 July with screening carried out by Northgate staff (in pink from left to right): Emma Fitzgerald, Screener; Eilish Morgan, Screener; Maria Lowry, Screener; Charlene Hynes, Local Manager; Sinead Courtney, Local Deputy Manager; Marie Hession, Clinical Midwife Manager II, GUH; Martina Harlow, Screener; and Aisling Joyce, Staff Midwife, GUH.