Fianna Fáil leader and TD for Cork South Central Micheál Martin TD has welcomed the rollout of the National Newborn Hearing Screening programme, which starts in Cork this month.

Deputy Martin continued, “The aim of this programme is to ensure that hearing impairments whether mild or profound are detected before a child reaches three months of age and to commence early intervention before the age of six months. It is vital that hearing impairments are picked up at the earliest possible stage of a child’s life as failure to do so can have a detrimental impact on communication, language and literacy skills. The later the impairment is identified the greater the disruption to the child’s developments.”

“This programme is being rolled out in Cork and is one of a series of recommendations made by an expert group who reviewed audiology services across the country The HSE has agreed to increase funding in the area by an extra €3.7 million this year in order to implement the Group’s recommendations. It will entail the restructuring of services to provide more integrated health teams and to ensure better communication between staff and patients. A new national clinical lead and four regional leads will be appointed to deliver and modernise services.”

“This important new development will help ensure that audiology services in Cork and indeed Ireland meet the best standards internationally. It will ensure that screening and audiology services are provided for infants in a seamless and family friendly way,” concluded Deputy Martin.