Title: 'Newborn Hearing Screening in Island Nations: Good News – and Not Just for Babies!'
Track: 1 - EHDI Program Enhancement
Keyword(s): Audiology in Remote Areas
Learning Objectives:
  1. understand challenges and benefits of providing audiological services in remote locations.


Research shows that populations in developing countries often have a disproportionately higher prevalence of hearing and speech-language disorders than populations in developed countries. Further, data show that people living in the Pacific Island nations that are politically connected with the United States have the highest known rates of chronic middle ear disease. These nations lie in an expanse of ocean larger than the continental U.S. Consisting of thousands of tiny islands with small populations, they are without a single local ENT specialist or audiologist. Diagnostic and intervention services for hearing health are not available to these people with high need. Demands on health care systems in these nations put services for communication disorders at low priority. Provision of primary health care is further challenged by chronic and endemic diseases, high rates of teen pregnancy, and low rates of immunization. Widespread poverty, inadequate island infrastructure, and vast geographical distances between islands confront efforts to develop needed medical and therapeutic services. The good news is that, because of U.S. national interest and legislation for identifying deaf babies at birth, federal funds have become available for newborn hearing screening programs in these small nations. Moreover, after services are provided to babies identified by the programs, screening programs, diagnostic services, and visiting specialists also provide access to hearing health for older children and adults. In addition, the newborn hearing screening program is utilized as a venue for raising awareness of the importance of good hearing among the local population and policymakers. Thus, newborn hearing screening is “good news” and not just for babies! This presentation describes how newborn hearing screening in these Pacific nations provides a pathway of social justice to global hearing health for the many born before newborn hearing screening began. The presentation will discuss opportunities for creating sustainability.
Presentation: 1256JeanJohnson.pdf

Handouts: Handout is not Available
Jean Johnson - Primary Presenter,Author
Center on Disability Studies
     Credentials: BEd, Deaf Education MA, Audiology MPH, Maternal and Child Health DrPH, Health Services Administration
      Dr. Johnson serves as an Assistant Professor and Principal Investigator with the Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawai'i. She holds an undergraduate degree in Special Education (teaching the deaf), masters degree in Audiology and in Public Health, and a doctoral degree in Public Health from the University of Hawai'i. Before joining CDS, she was the Coordinator of the Zero-to-Three Hawai'i project to provide services to infants and toddlers with special needs. She spent many years in Guam and Micronesia establishing programs for children and adults with disabilities. She currently works on several newborn hearing screening projects in the Marshall Islands and American Samoa. In 2011, she received the Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence. Dr. Johnson is passionate about issues of social justice, especially as they relate to persons with disabilities and people from the islands.

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