Public Health ministry attends hearing screening symposium

POSTED: 04/24/12 11:52 AM

St. Maarten Registered Nurse Mayra Martina, the acting head of youth health care recently travelled to Aruba to attend the Neonatal Hearing Screening Symposium, where she had the opportunity to hear from the entire team involved, such as the ear nose and throat doctor, the speech therapist, Aruban Youth Health Care Services and the White and Yellow Cross Foundation teams, and a representative from the Dutch Institute for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired.

Martina stated that, “The symposium gave an overview of the different aspects of Aruba’s Neonatal Hearing Screening over the last five years in addition to what’s in store for the future and cooperation between the islands to set up Neonatal Health Screening on the islands that don’t have it.”

The ear nose and throat specialist spoke about further treatment, the speech therapist spoke about the extensive guidance the children receive as they have to learn what sounds are, the Dutch representative of the Institute for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired presented the Dutch figures as well as Aruban figures. It was concluded that if the hearing impairment is caught early on children stand a better chance of not only receiving care but also developing in a more acceptable manner.

The neonatal hearing screening is done on newborns between four to seven days old. The device used during the screening is an otoacoustic emission device. This device is taken to the homes where the test is carried out. Reason for it being done at the home is due to the quietness there, and the baby is in his own surrounding. The results are given immediately.

Besides attending the symposium Martina had the opportunity to go out in the field while the screenings were being done to get a first-hand view of an actual screening.

“I am looking forward to the recommendations to see how we can improve this service to our population, as by screening you can detect hearing loss that could affect a child’s communications skills and learning abilities,” said Minister of Public Health Social Development and Labor, Cornelius De Weever.

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