Earlier in 2014, Ireland screened the 100,000th baby to be tested for newborn hearing issues since rollout of UNHS concluded in 2013. Latest HSE figures show that:
- Each month, an average of 6,000 babies now receive a newborn hearing test.
- Of this total, 180 babies (3 per cent) are referred onward for further diagnostic testing.
- About nine babies of this total are confirmed to have permanent hearing difficulties.
- Since UNHS began in 2011, 154 babies were identified as being permanently deaf.
James Fogarty from Ireland’s Medical Independent requested comments from Sound Advice for a recent article, Sounding-Out Audiology, which notes:
While the HSE rightly comes in for criticism about some aspects of its running of the health service, this [newborn hearing tests] programme represents a real success for the Executive and the country generally.