In November 2010, Dr. Monika Lehnhardt, who established Cochlear Europe in Basel in 1987, published a new study about the importance of UNHS.
Her research showed around 5,000 babies are born deaf in the EU per year, with another 5,000-10,000 having hearing issues that need intervention.
Apart from these statistics, deafness is not visible, and can affect a child’s development from a psychological and physiological viewpoint.
In 1965, the Babbidge report (US Department of Health, Education and Welfare, HEW) advised the development and national implementation of generic procedures for early identification of hearing issues.
Since then, many efforts have been made in the US and in other countries, to establish the most suitable way of detecting hearing issues in newborns.
In some EU countries (including Germany) about 10 years of lobbying was required until a law introducing UNHS was passed in 2009. Most countries in Europe face two more years of lobbying before UNHS becomes mandatory.
Testing a newborn baby’s hearing is just the beginning and if they are found to be deaf, parents have much hard work and important decisions to take.
Therefore, UNHS is just the first step and needs to be available globally. Monica Lehnhardt’s study is available online, with details of her work.
(compiled by Raluca Maier)
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