Mums thank Newborn Hearing Screeners for helping children to hear

NHS

Newborn Hearing Screeners from all over Ireland

Two grateful mums have thanked screeners from all over Ireland, who perform the free hearing screening tests on newborn babies at 19 maternity hospitals, at a special event hosted by Northgate Public Services in Dublin recently.

Lorraine Murphy from Westmeath told how her daughter Anna, now 5, was not diagnosed with a profound hearing loss in both ears until 17 months of age, as the UNHS did not exist when she was born. “While parents don’t want to hear bad news about their new babies, if they are diagnosed early with a hearing problem, it is in fact good news as it gives parents a chance to open the right doors to communication and possibly technology straight away, allowing their child to progress in the normal way."

Lorraine and other parents have set up a support group in Ireland, Our New Ears, for parents of deaf children with cochlear implants in Ireland, which currently has over 160 members.

Rachel Fellowes from Cork, whose son Benjamin, 2, had the benefit of being diagnosed at birth through the Newborn Screening Service, added: “This has been such an advantage for Ben. He can say 80 words now, which is similar to his brother Joel (3), at that age. I am so grateful to have had the chance to have him diagnosed early, so that he has not lost out on his learning and development.”

Northgate’s Executive Director Joe Bradley said: “I was delighted to have this opportunity to thank all the screeners for their stalwart work with so many babies and to meet some of the mums who have benefitted. This is an invaluable service which is helping the HSE with early detection and also bringing long-term benefits to children and their families in Ireland by providing this free, early detection service to newborns.

So far, there have been 164 babies in Ireland diagnosed with a Permanent Childhood Hearing Impairment since the screening started. On average 6,000 babies are screened each month; of these 180 babies (3%) are referred to the HSE Audiology Service for further hearing diagnostic assessments; and approximately 9 babies are identified with a permanent childhood hearing loss.

Source: Northgate Public Services

E.M.