With the advent of newborn hearing screening and improved technologies, such as cochlear implants, more and more deaf children are relying on spoken language from an early age. There is variablility in spoken language outcomes and some believe this is evidence that excluding sign language from an early age may be a risky approach. Researchers at University of Connecticut and Gallaudet University will be conducting studies to determine an answer to these issues.
Doctors have struggled to prevent hearing loss that is common in premature infants and efforts have been made to reduce noise from loud, hissing ventilators by making quieter motors and having infants wear ear muffs. Doctors in Minnesota have focused on the ventilator tubing in an infant's mouth and the vibrations in the skull created by the tubing. The decibel reading from the tubing was very high.
A team of researchers have developed and successfully implanted an auditory brainstem implant (ABI) in 4 children who could not previously hear because they did not have an auditory nerve. The ABI is considered revolutionary because it stimulates neurons at the brainstem directly and completely bypasses the inner ear.
Hearing screening test for all
babies no later than 1 month of age
Diagnostic evaluation by an audiologist no later than 3 months of age if baby did not pass hearing screening test
Early intervention no later than 6 months of age if baby is diagnosed with a hearing loss