Trust buys equipment to test hearing of babies

The new equipment in use. From left, mum Kate Hegarty, baby Patrick Hegarty, his step-sister Megan Hegarty and head of audiology Stephen Griffiths

The new equipment in use. From left, mum Kate Hegarty, baby Patrick Hegarty, his step-sister Megan Hegarty and head of audiology Stephen Griffiths

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A DONATION to the audiology department at Noble’s Hospital has improved the newborn hearing screening service.

The money from the trustees of the Henry Bloom Noble Healthcare Trust has enabled the department to buy special new equipment.

Three clinics are run each week, with the department aiming to test every newborn baby within four weeks of birth.

Since the donation, the service has been restructured, allowing more than 300 babies to be tested and a small number of children with potential hearing loss have been identified.

Those babies who have been identified can then be given help at the very earliest possible stage. It is for this reason that parents are urged to attend the clinics to have their babies screened, or to contact the service if they are unable to do so.

Stephen Griffiths, head of audiology, said: ‘The equipment is very well utilised and given that we are already identifying potentially deaf babies, there can be absolutely no doubt as to how much the equipment benefits the island’s population.

‘On behalf of the team here and every baby who is given a better start in life due to this equipment, the audiology department would like to express its gratitude to the trustees for the purchase.

‘The procedure itself is very quick and non-invasive. All we do is place a small tip from the new equipment into the baby’s ear which plays a clicking sound.

‘If the baby has normal hearing, the equipment then registers an echo from the inner ear in response to the sound played. The test normally only takes a few seconds for each ear, so provided the baby is asleep, preferably having been fed beforehand, it normally doesn’t wake them.’

The audiology department can be contacted on 650407.

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