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A national hearing screening programme in England offers a hearing test for all new-born babies.

Over 1,000 babies are born each year in England with deafness or hearing loss in one, or both, ears. It is essential, therefore, that this is identified early. The programme does just that, enabling parents to access the appropriate support for their babies as quickly as possible,? professor Adrian Davis, director of the screening programme, told BBC News.

The hearing screening checks babies' hearing by measuring how well they respond to sound.

Equal opportunity for all children

Early identification and subsequent support is important for the children's social relations and communication skills.

"The new-born hearing screening programme will help to achieve this by giving hundreds of babies born with hearing impairment and deafness the opportunity to develop communication skills and bond with their parents from an early age,? explained professor Al Aynsley-Green, Children's Commissioner for England.

According to BBC News, the decision to implement a national hearing screening programme for new-borns was made in 2000 following research and advice from the UK National Screening Committee.

Source: news.bbc.co.uk, 16.03.2006

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