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New Guide Available for Parents of Infants Diagnosed with Hearing Loss

By Anthea Passmore

Buffalo, NY – The Buffalo Hearing and Speech Centre and the Women and Children's Hospital unveiled a guide for parents today on hearing impairments in babies. The brochure encourages hearing screenings and includes resources for parents with children with impaired hearing.

Over 12,000 babies with permanent hearing loss are born each year in the United States. How do you know if your baby can hear? The front page of the guide for parents addresses that. The guide explains why babies should be tested at birth, what can be expected at a follow up hearing appointment and a development checklist for a child's hearing and speech. Joseph Sonnenberg, vice president of research and development at the Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center, said such information wasn't readily available.

"Actually, the impetus came from a parent, who said she didn't have enough information after her child was screened for hearing loss," Sonnenberg said. "After failing the screening, she didn't know where to go from there."

The launch of the guide coincides with the Regional Infant Hearing Awareness Campaign. The campaign aims to inform physicians, hospitals and parents of children with hearing loss of services and options available in the Buffalo Niagara Region. Amy Bartell's son attends the Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center. Bartell says that the launch of the guide is significant for parents with hearing impaired children.

"This one gives a lot more information on the type of resources that are local," Bartell said. "You need that as a parent when you find out your child has a hearing problem."

The guide for parents was created by audiologists from the Center and the Women and Children's Hospital through a grant from the First Niagara Bank Foundation.

The guide will be distributed across the eight counties of Western New York.