The Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program (VIHSP) is 10! This birthday celebrates 10 years of screening to improve outcomes for newborns born with hearing loss, and their families. VIHSP covers 99% of all newborn Victorian babies, providing a vital detection service and invaluable early support to families.
Newborn hearing screening gives babies with hearing loss the best possible opportunity for positive life-long outcomes. Babies who are diagnosed with a hearing loss and start receiving early intervention before six months of age can develop better speech, language and learning skills than babies whose hearing loss is not diagnosed until later. The earlier a baby can hear, the earlier their brain is exposed to and can develop language and communication skills.
The 135-strong VIHSP team now reaches 99% of all newborns across Victoria. Last year alone, the team screened an incredible 76,000 babies.
In addition to its role in early detection, VIHSP offers an Early Support Service for families of a baby diagnosed with hearing loss, which helps families understand more about their baby’s hearing loss and guides them through the process of diagnosis and intervention. The VIHSP program also informs, and is informed by, research to improve future intervention and treatment. The Centre’s current research projects include VicCHILD; a Victorian register and databank of children and young adults born with a permanent hearing loss.