29 June, 2000
EVERY baby in the UK is to have its hearing tested within 48 hours of being born, it has been announced.
The new test will be added to the checks a baby goes through while still in hospital, in a bid to catch any problems as early as possible.
At the moment, hearing is not checked until between six and nine months and even then almost half of the 840 children born deaf each year are undiagnosed at 18 months old.
The new test involves sending a sound into a baby’s ear and measuring the level of returned sound and can be given two days after the baby’s birth, when most children are still in hospital.
The test will be launched in 20 pilot areas across England this September, and rolled out across the country a year later, if results are satisfactory.
Public health minister Yvette Cooper, who announced the move, said: “We are very keen on the proposals for a universal neonatal screening programme for deafness in children.”
The move has been given the backing of the Royal National Institute for the Deaf,
because early diagnosis will mean technology and support can be brought in to help such
You can read more about the checks a baby will have both when first born and over the
next two years by reading our essential information.