Each year in Minnesota, 210 children will be born deaf or hard of hearing. With a state mandate that requires screening of all babies before leaving the hospital, we have the ability to identify infants within a critical developmental window. More importantly, we have the chance to provide these newborns with exposure to language. Without this exposure, children who are deaf and hard of hearing may lag far behind their hearing peers.
However, screening every newborn does not solve the issue. Just as many children will develop hearing loss later in life. We all need to be vigilant about monitoring a child’s language development and hearing to identify the issue as early as possible. As Hands & Voices Board Member Christine Yoshinaga-Itano explained, “Screening provides the opportunity but does not guarantee the outcome.”
MN Hands & Voices staff are trained Parent Guides who have all lived the joys and challenges of raising a child who is deaf or hard of hearing. Our unique parent perspectives strengthen the philosophy of embracing all communication opportunities and choices. With open arms, we welcome you to our community.
For more information, see this conversation with Linda Murrans, audiologist at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, on the “Mom Enough” website. Linda discusses newborn hearing screening, the importance of hearing on brain development and the importance of early intervention.