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Deaf children

Policy changing recommendations, resulting from 15 years of interdisciplinary research at The University of Manchester, have led to the NHS adopting the screening of newborn babies' hearing as standard practice.

The NHS Newborn Hearing Screening Programme (NHSP) offers all new parents in England the opportunity to have their baby's hearing screened within the first few weeks of life.

To date, over five million babies have been screened and over 9,500 have been diagnosed with permanent bilateral hearing loss.

Screening is only the first step. Dr Kai Uus and colleagues original research pinpointed the potential challenges that the post-screening agencies, most importantly Paediatric Audiology Services, faced when dealing with the assessment and management of very young infants.

Professor Alys Young and colleagues demonstrated that routine early identification of deafness in newborn babies could have a dramatic impact on how families were able to deal with the diagnosis and best practice in family-centred early intervention services.

Seminal work on "Informed Choice" in partnership with the National Deaf Children's Society resulted in the Department of Health publishing two guidance documents for parents and professionals.

It also steered how British Columbia (Canada) developed its approach to early intervention services for families with deaf children.

The ensuing international training programme on informed choice provision and practice has involved over 500 early intervention professionals in South Africa, Australia, Canada and Norway.

Professor Young's team also developed the MVOS (My Views on Services), a parent report measure designed to assess the quality of early intervention services experiences by parents of deaf children.

Over 48 people and organisations across six countries have registered to use MVOS and it is now used in Queensland Australia as a standard element of assessment protocols with families of early identified deaf children.

"The NHS Newborn Hearing Screening Programme (NHSP) offers all new parents in England the opportunity to have their baby's hearing screened within the first few weeks of life. To date, over five million babies have been screened and over 9,500 have been diagnosed with permanent bilateral hearing loss."

Professor Alys Young | Dr Kai Uus / Professor of Social Work Education and Research | Lecturer in Audiology