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For Release: April 28, 2009
Contact: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications

Spanish PSAs Remind Parents About Newborn Hearing Tests and Follow Up

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is joining efforts with the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) to remind parents and caregivers of babies to have their newborn tested for hearing loss. If a child did not pass the initial newborn hearing tests conducted at the hospital or birthing facility, immediate follow-up is recommended.

Public health officials are concerned that Hispanic families with babies that did not pass the initial screening may not be receiving follow up testing. To address this concern, the CDC produced public service announcements (PSAs) in Spanish available to download and use in the local Spanish-speaking media and communities. To listen or download the radio PSAs, visit http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/ehdi/psa/psa.htm The Spanish and English PSA scripts are also available at that Web site.

According to the CDC, recent studies show that nationally about half of the babies who do not pass the hearing screening do not receive recommended follow-up services to find the presence or degree of the hearing loss. Failure to follow up with infants who do not pass the initial hearing screening can impact the child’s future as hearing directly impacts a child’s ability to speak. An undiagnosed hearing loss can make it very difficult for families to communicate with their baby.

“We are trying to reach out to the Spanish-speaking population through the CDC PSAs to increase awareness that newborn screening for hearing loss and follow up services are available,” said OSDH Newborn Hearing Screening Program Coordinator Patricia Burk. “We can help them find the health care provider and translator closest to their home to conduct the needed testing,” Burk said.

The cause of the hearing loss is often unknown. In Oklahoma during 2007, about 55,000 babies were born. During that year, the OSDH Newborn Hearing Screening Program tracked about 8,200 cases of babies at risk of hearing loss for follow up and intervention. Annually, OSDH identifies about 150 babies in Oklahoma that end up with permanent loss.

For general information about newborn hearing screening, contact the county health department in your area or call the OSDH Newborn Hearing Screening Program at 405/271-6617 and ask for Patricia Burk.

Editor’s Note: The radio psas available also have versions for your station to add a local tag line “This message brought to you by the Oklahoma State Department of Health and this station (name of station). For a provider near you, please call 1-800-766-2223.”

See Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/ehdi/psa/psa.htm



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