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Opinion >  Letters

Screen newborns for hearing

I cannot stress enough the significance of Dr. Alisa Hideg’s column of July 14. Parents, please follow up on her advice. I must add, though, that there are other congenital (present at birth) conditions for which screening other than blood screening can and should be done.

Hearing impairment, including deafness, is the most common disability that exists at birth. How common? Conservative estimates say as many as 1 in 400 live births is a child with impaired hearing. That is twice as common as Down syndrome, twice as common as cleft lip and/or palate, and 10 times as common as hypothyroidism.

So, parents, please assure that your child’s hearing is screened as soon as possible after birth, preferably on the second day. One-half of these children have a genetic cause; the other one-half do not. Hence, the screen is essential.

Sanford E. Gerber


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