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Selkirk Rotary Club Donation Paves Way for Infant Hearing Testing

On Monday, October 21 members of the Rotary Club of Selkirk donated $2,000 to the Interlake-Eastern RHA to purchase a chair that will allow the RHA’s Selkirk based audiologist to offer hearing tests for infants in the region. This will be the second chair of this kind in the region. The Beausejour based audiologist has one as well.

 

The Auditory Brain Response test that measures brain waves produced when the ear hears sounds requires an infant to be asleep throughout the one to two hour long test. Electrodes placed on the child's forehead and behind both ears or on the earlobes pick up the brain’s electrical responses to tones and clicks presented by earphones placed in a child's ears.  

 

It’s a painless procedure but in order to secure accurate results, it’s essential that the infant be asleep. The chair accommodates a parent who holds the infant in arms for the test. Every time people move, the muscles generate electricity. This electricity is usually much greater in strength than the electricity generated by the auditory system. When trying to measure a very small auditory electrical signal, if other stronger signals are coming from the muscles, it’s too difficult or impossible to measure the response of the ears. Since the child falls asleep naturally, (sedatives aren’t used) babies are able to sleep better in their parent’s arms. This also eases the parent’s minds as they too are in the testing booth. Without this chair, this hearing test cannot be conducted.

 

According to Interlake-Eastern RHA’s audiologist, Mamdoh Gerges, who is based in Selkirk, hearing loss detected early can greatly improve a child’s quality of life. There’s a greater chance that children’s development in speech, language and cognitive abilities will be on par with their peers. If it’s not addressed, hearing loss can greatly diminish a child’s development with lifelong impact.

 

“We are very grateful to the members of the Rotary Club of Selkirk for recognizing this need and helping us provide this service within the region,” Gerges said. The chair will be available for testing later this year. It reclines and has an antimicrobial finish for infection control.

 

The wait list for audiology testing within the region is two to six weeks. While self referrals can be made, it’s best if parents have their family physician/nurse practitioner/pediatrician make a referral for infant hearing testing. Visit www.ierha.ca, click on ”Care in Your Community”, “Community Services” and “Hearing/Audiology” for an audiology referral form and information on where to send it.

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