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Neonatal hearing screening and intervention in resource-limited settings: an overview


From a developmental perspective, optimal speech and language outcome is indisputably the primary motivation for neonatal hearing screening of infants with congenital or early-onset hearing loss (PCHL). This paper additionally outlines more broadly the potential value of early hearing detection and intervention in resource-poor countries against the backdrop of limitations of primary prevention of PCHL based on a review of literature from low-income and middle-income countries with per capita incomes of approximately US$6000 or less. It establishes the scientific and developmental foundation for priority consideration for neonatal hearing screening and intervention in any global initiatives for effective early childhood development programmes in resource-limited countries. It also highlights approaches to addressing the various challenges to implementing effective early hearing detection and intervention programmes, and concludes with a discussion on the pivotal role of paediatricians in facilitating timely referral for requisite tests and (re)habilitative services especially for infants with established risk factors.

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