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By Stacey Cohen

A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report says that millions of U.S. children are not getting optimum healthcare basically because of a lack of follow-up that could prevent serious health problems.

Part of the ritual of a newborn in the hospital is screening for hearing. Only half of those that seem to have an issue get a documented audiology exam. Two to three infants per 1,000 live births are born deaf or hard of hearing . When left undetected, a hearing loss can delay a child’s speech and language development. Approximately 40% of young adults with hearing loss identified during childhood reported experiencing at least one limitation in daily functioning.

Many children don't get proper dental treatment. In 2009, less than half of children and adolescents had a dental visit in the past year, and approximately 15% of children received sealants or topical fluoride.These low levels of dental use carried through for the next ten years.

This is just a glimpse into the 11 highlighted shortfalls of lack of follow-up in children's health.

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Fox News
December 05, 2014 - Reuters

Teenagers whose hearing loss was detected very early in infancy had better reading comprehension than their hearing-impaired peers who were diagnosed later, according to a new study from the UK.

The results suggest that detecting hearing loss, and intervening at a critical early stage, can make a lifelong difference in development, researchers said.

That possibility strengthens the case for implementing universal newborn hearing screening programs in countries that have not adopted such programs as national policy, the study authors write in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

“Permanent bilateral childhood impairment is the commonest congenital impairment and affects considerably more than one in 1,000 newborns,” Dr. Colin Kennedy, the study’s senior author, told Reuters Health in an email.

“There is a sensitive period in early infancy when if the brain receives the right input, language will develop in a way that it rarely does if the right input is not received until later in life,” said Kennedy, a pediatric neurologist at the University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

Kennedy said there is an effective and very acceptable screening test that can be done on newborn babies.

“If this picks up permanent deafness early, this will greatly improve the babies’ chances of learning to read and communicate as well as a child with normal hearing,” Kennedy said.

Universal newborn screening programs have been implemented in the UK and Germany. About 90 percent of babies born in the U.S. are screened.

For the new study, Kennedy’s team followed up with 76 teenagers with permanent hearing impairment whose reading skills had been assessed between the ages of 6 and 10, and then again nine years later.

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