Quebec criticized for its delay in detecting hearing loss in babies


Two Quebec associations are criticizing the province’s slowness in expanding access to the Quebec Newborn Hearing Testing Program (PQDSN), saying it lags far behind other Canadian jurisdictions.

The Ordre des orthophonistes et audiologistes du Québec (OOAQ) and the Quebec Association for children with hearing problems (AQEPA) claim that 53% of babies in Quebec have access to the program, while in British Columbia and Ontario, 97% and 94%, respectively, are screened at birth.

The two associations point out that the Quebec program was announced in 2009, but that it has not yet been completed.

They argue that inexcusable delay is detrimental to the development and future of children with undetected hearing loss at birth, as prevention and early detection are key to overcoming any problems.

They claim that newborn hearing tests are simple to perform and require little time.

The two organizations point out that hearing loss is the second most common condition, along with visual impairment, in children under five.

Each year, four to six out of every 1,000 babies are born with hearing loss and more than 90% of these children are born to hearing parents who are unaware of this possibility.

— This report from The Canadian Press was first published in French on May 11, 2022.


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