Screening for Hearing in Newborns

«The inability to see separates from things; the inability to hear separates from humans»

Immanuel Kant

According to the world statistics hearing loss in newborns is diagnosed in 4 — 5 per 1000 births. It is a very frequent congenital pathology. Any distortion of hearing in the form of hearing loss and deafness has a negative impact on the general and mental development of kids. A particularly close relationship exists between the auditory sense and speech development. The potential to learn speaking diminishes with time if the child does not hear and subsequently cannot develop verbal skills. This, in turn, greatly affects emotional sphere of a kid and may complicate the interpersonal relationships.

Fortunately, if diagnosed in time the state of the art of otolaryngology provides a chance for children who are born deaf or with severe hearing impairment to regain this sense and make use of it. Nowadays it is done with the help of a cochlear implant system (CI).

 It is an advanced device that performs the function of damaged or missing hair cells and helps children who are unable to comprehend the beautiful world of sounds. The system consists of two cochlear implant components: a speech processor that analyzes the sounds and encodes them into a sequence of electrical pulses and an implant that transmits electrical impulses to electrodes in the cochlea. Auditory nerve receives and sends them to the auditory centers of the brain. The brain recognizes the transmitted signals as sounds and then miracle happens — the child begins to hear. 

People who have regained the sense of hearing and ability to enjoy voices of the nearest and dearest, the sound of nature and music experience such a strong shock that makes it unlikely for them to ever remain «deaf» to the beauty of the sound. It is highly impressive to watch the experience and emotions of people hearing for the first time after CI activation. See here

Realizing this problem and the potential for its solution the International Children Charity Foundation “Chance”[1] has initiated a program «Screening for Hearing in Newborns» with the aim to detect hearing impairment in children on early stage that would allow proceeding with the rehabilitation activities and ensuring their healthy development. In the framework of this program public hospitals in Belarus are planned to be equipped with the high-tech medical equipment. We hope that this could ensure the 100% screening coverage of all newborns.

 In the framework of this program and by means of Ammado[2] the Chance Foundation has launched a fundraising campaign “Perfect Hearing”. The idea behind the campaign is to help children with hearing impairment to acquire modern speech processors, which will significantly increase their capacity to hear and allow them to learn and develop in the same way as healthy children do. Any Internet user can support the fundraising campaign, or spread information about funds collection through social network pages.

We believe that no hearing-impaired child should be denied a chance to enjoy the beautiful world of sounds. If there is a chance, it should be used.

Natalia Makhanko,

Chance Foundation Executive Director

Disclaimer: The above-mentioned information is not of a commercial nature, it is provided solely to identify the problem and justify the purpose of the fundraising campaign.

[1] The Foundation is mainly engaged into provision of targeted charitable support to severely-ill children who are in need for medical assistance. Along the 5 years of the charitable activity the Foundation with the help of donors and friends was able to help 260 children and raise more than 2,5$ million

[2] provides a global donation and engagement platform, one that accepts donations from all around the world — in more than 75 currencies and through all major and many local payment methods