Burbank, CA (May 19, 2009) – Up to three newborns in 1,000 are diagnosed with some form of permanent hearing loss, and early diagnosis and intervention can make a world of difference.
The key is early diagnosis, and beginning this month Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center provides painless diagnostic audiology testing of infants and children. The process is invaluable because it can help treat hearing difficulties from the start.
“We can check the hearing of babies, ages 1 day to 3 months, while they sleep in their mothers’ arms,” said Marina Kokonis, an audiologist at Providence Saint Joseph. “Until now, we’ve had to send these babies to specialists and it could take four weeks for an appointment.”
Coincidentally, the new computerized diagnostic system at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center goes online this month – May is Speech and Hearing Month.
The new program was funded in part by proceeds from the Providence Saint Joseph Foundation’s 2008 golf tournament.
“We are so thankful for the gracious funding to support our program,” said Patrice Hallak, director of neuroscience, orthopedics and rehabilitation services for Providence Health & Services in the San Fernando Valley.
The testing is simple and the staff is patient because the tiny patients don’t always cooperate.
“Sometimes it’s an hour into the appointment before we get started,” Kokonis said. “The baby needs to be fed and changed, and it’s best when they fall asleep.”
In one test, a small earpiece is inserted and the program measures the echo following a string of various sounds. Most babies sleep through the process.
The diagnostics are provided as an outpatient service. For information, call 1 (888) HEALING (432-5464).