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Databank. Hearing loss in babies
Hearing loss in babies
A new scheme, Universal Neonatal Hearing Screening (UNHS), will soon replace the current Infant Distraction Test (IDT), normally performed in babies who are seven to eight months old. The new test has been shown to be much more sensitive than the IDT. About 840 children are born each year with profound hearing loss in both ears. Currently in around 400 children hearing loss is not detected until they are 18 months old and in a further 200 it remains undetected until they are three-and-a-half years old. Children who have hearing loss identified at a later age are at risk of delay in their development of language and communication skills and this often leads to lower educational achievements and a poorer quality of life. A recent US study has shown that more than 90 per cent of children with hearing loss identified by neonatal hearing screening develop vocabulary within the normal range during the first three years of life.