BC Medical Association

BC Medical Association

March 04, 2005 19:26 ET

BC Medical Association: Hearing-Impaired Babies Now Have a Better Chance of Speech and Language Development with the Implementation of Government Screening Program


NEWS RELEASE TRANSMITTED BY CCNMatthews

FOR: BC MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

MARCH 4, 2005 - 19:26 ET

BC Medical Association: Hearing-Impaired Babies Now
Have a Better Chance of Speech and Language
Development with the Implementation of Government
Screening Program

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - March 4, 2005) - The BC
Medical Association is pleased that Premier Gordon Campbell recognizes
the importance of early screening and detection of hearing impairment in
our very youngest citizens. The earlier that treatment begins for
hearing impairment and deafness, the more likely that normal vocal and
speech patterns will develop as the baby grows into childhood.

At its January Board Meeting, the BCMA's Board of Directors unanimously
passed the motion supporting the Early Hearing Detection Committee - BC
Steering Committee's report, A Sound Start, and urged government to
implement and fund it through the regional health authorities and the
provincial health services authority.

"Before implementation of this program, children with hearing loss were
usually not identified until about two years of age," said Chair of the
BCMA's Child and Youth Health Committee, Dr. Basil Boulton. "The
critical window for much of their speech and language development is
behind them making it virtually impossible for these kids to catch up.
But with the implementation of this program, babies born with hearing
deficiencies will begin treatment by three months of age giving them a
much better chance of developing these skills despite their disability."

Similar hearing detection programs are currently working well in Ontario
and Alberta, and in approximately 30 states in the US. Closer to home,
Victoria General Hospital has had an effective hearing impairment
screening program that is in the process of expanding to Nanaimo. A
Sound Start will be implemented province wide and is expected to detect
approximately 120 babies each year who otherwise would fall through the
cracks.

The BCMA also supports government's early childhood screening programs
for children in low-income families - vision screening that includes
more coverage for eyeglasses, and increasing dental coverage and
associated screening and support programs.

-30-

Contact Information

  • FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
    BC Medical Association
    Sharon Shore
    (604) 638-2832 or (604) 680-1968 (pager)
    www.bcma.org