Newborn babies will now be screened for early signs of hearing loss in all eighteen Saskatchewan hospitals that regularly deliver babies as of May 1.
The Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program identifies early signs of hearing loss so the language and literacy skills of children who are deaf or hard of hearing can be improved. Funding of $523,000 was provided in last year’s budget to purchase equipment and hire staff.
“May is Speech and Hearing Awareness month, so it’s fitting that we are able to announce this month that this program has been expanded to all eighteen Saskatchewan hospitals that regularly deliver babies,” Health Minister Jim Reiter said. “This investment will ensure that children born in Saskatchewan with hearing loss are identified, so the proper supports can be put into place to help those children succeed.”
“Having a Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program in Saskatchewan represents a huge win for the province,” Saskatchewan Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Executive Director Nairn Gillies said. “Early identification of Deaf and Hard of Hearing children is key in eliminating debilitating linguistic delays. Universal Newborn Hearing Screening is a critical step toward empowering parents to engage with their newborns with hearing loss in a much more-timely and informed manner.”
Communities that offer the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program include: Estevan, Fort Qu’Appelle, Humboldt, Kindersley, La Ronge, Lloydminster, Meadow Lake, Melfort, Moose Jaw, Moosomin, Nipawin, North Battleford, Regina, Rosetown, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Yorkton and Prince Albert.
For more information about the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program, including the hospitals that offer it, visit www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/health/accessing-health-care-services/audiology-and-hearing-services.
For more information about Saskatchewan Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, visit www.sdhhs.com.