MeritCare Receives Infant Hearing Testing Certificate of Excellence
More than 30 babies are born every day in the U.S. with a hearing loss, making it the most common birth defect. Each day newborns are discharged from the hospital without receiving an initial hearing screening. Since the program began, newborn hearing screening rates prior to hospital discharge have risen from 39% to over 95%. Screening newborns for hearing loss identifies most children with congenital hearing loss prior to the onset of language development, allowing parents to access services much earlier than otherwise. MeritCare remains an important part of ensuring newborns in North Dakota are screened before they are discharged from the hospital. In the absence of screening, the majority of children with congenital hearing loss do not receive a diagnosis until 2to 3 years of age, by which point language development is usually seriously delayed.
The over-all goal of this project is to screen 100 percent of babies born in North Dakota before they leave the hospital. We recognize all MeritCare staff involved for making the great effort to improve healthcare outcomes for infants born with hearing loss.