Imua newborn hearing home birth

At the end of 2012, Imua Family Services entered into a new contract with the Hawai`i Department of Health Newborn Hearing Screening Program to provide “Outpatient Screenings” to newborns born outside of Maui Memorial Medical Center, such as home births, which are increasingly becoming more common.

20 years ago in 1993, Imua Family Services began the Newborn Hearing Screening Program at Maui Memorial Medical Center in cooperation with the statewide newborn hearing screening program administered by the Department of Health. Currently over 1600 babies born at MMMC each year are screened in the maternity ward within 24 hours of delivery.

“We are excited about the launch of this new initiative to screen Maui’s homebirth babies,” says Dean Wong, Imua Family Services Executive Director. “The service is of no cost to families, for many reasons that people might choose to have a home birth, and might be reluctant to take their babies to a hospital, now this service can ensure that home birthed babies have the opportunity to be screened for hearing loss.”

Newborn hearing screening is a simple test with a hand held device to check a baby’s hearing. The test takes a few minutes and is done while your baby is sleeping or resting.

Why is Newborn Hearing Screening important?
“Your baby will learn to talk and understand what people say using their hearing. If a child cannot hear speech clearly, he or she may have difficulty developing good speech and language. If a baby is identified with hearing loss, an audiologist and early intervention specialist will be able to help right away, through the programs at Imua Family Services.” Says Christi Masters, Speech Language Pathologist.

What causes hearing loss?
Hearing loss can be inherited, even if there is no other family who was born deaf or hard of hearing. It can be also be caused by infections, medications, or problems at birth. There are many causes for hearing loss and in some cases, even after testing, the cause of hearing loss may not be known.

Today Imua Family Services provides comprehensive early childhood development services to children with developmental delays, special needs and disabilities and to their families with the support and resources needed to achieve their full potential in life. Each year, over 2,500 community members on Maui and Lanai receive support from Imua Family Services through the Infant & Child Development Program, Early Childhood Development Program, Newborn Hearing Screening, and Camp Imua.

If you would like more information about Imua Family Services Newborn Hearing Screening Program, please visit www.imuafamilyservices.org or call 244-7467.

Image Credit: Joanna Tano

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Dean is the Executive Director at Imua Family Services. He has a 15-year background in health and human services and non-profit leadership. His experience includes work with organizations serving the needs of many different and diverse communities in Africa and the United States. Here on Maui, he has excelled at working in support of the well-being of Native Hawaiians, Asians and Pacific Islander communities. Dean enjoys spending time with his two year old son. You can find out more about IMUA and Dean at www.imuafamilyservices.org