Support universal hearing-screening sign now

Dr. Philippe Couillard May 2008
Ministre
Ministиre de la Santй et des Service Sociaux
1075, chemin Sainte-Foy, 15e йtage
Quйbec (Quйbec) G1S 2M1
RE : Universal Newborn Hearing Screening (UNHS)
Dear Dr. Couillard:

I am urging you to implement universal newborn hearing screening (UNHS) in
Quebec without delay. As detailed in the recent report: Le Dйpistage de la
surditй chez le nouveau-nй: evaluation des avantages, des inconvйnients et des coыts de son implantation au Quйbec, commissioned by the Institute of Public Health of Quebec, UNHS has been strongly recommended.

Hearing loss is the most common birth defect, affecting 1 to 3 of every 1000
newborns. Undetected hearing loss has serious life-long negative effects on the development and learning potential of children. Beyond delays in speech and language, hearing-impaired children are at risk of low literacy, learning delays and limited auditory brain development. Profoundly deaf Quebec children are currently diagnosed between the ages of 15-24 months.

Dramatic benefits are associated with early detection in the newborn period and subsequent effective intervention. Today, the majority of deaf children can be expected to hear, speak and reach their natural potentials through timely access to communication, during the critical early years of brain development.

A universal hearing-screening program is both feasible and cost-effective. A 10 minute test, costing approximately $35 and performed in the newborn nursery can completely transform the future of hearing impaired infants. Silence is not golden.

Please implement a universal newborn hearing-screening program immediately
and give Quebec infants the opportunity to hear, listen and learn.

Yours sincerely,

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