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SWISH infant hearing test

Hearing health for newborns

29 Jan 2018


By the time children say their first words, they have been listening to the way we talk for over a year.

The early detection of newborn hearing loss can ensure a child’s development stays on track.

“The earlier hearing loss is identified and treated, the better for a child’s language, learning and development,” says Judy Noonan, District Manager of the Statewide Infant Screening for Hearing program, known as SWISH.

“One or two per 1,000 babies born will have permanent hearing loss. Early identification and intervention is important to help these children stay on schedule with their speech, language and communication skills.”

“Early identification also allows parents time to get all the information they need to feel confident in raising a child with hearing loss,” says Ms Noonan.

For more than 15 years, SWISH has offered hearing screening for newborns in the hospital and community. Screening is conducted by specially trained screeners using automated auditory response technology and is quick and completely pain free.

“Approximately one per cent of all newborns will have some type of hearing loss,” Ms Noonan says.

“We aim to identify those babies born with significant hearing loss and link them to appropriate services as soon as possible after birth.”

Over 99 per cent of the more than 5,000 babies born at Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District hospitals in 2017 received the screening service.

SWISH services are available at Nepean, Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Hawkesbury hospitals and Nepean Private Hospital.