March 13-15, 2016 • San Diego, CA


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Audiology and Hearing Health Professionals in Developing Countries

In developing countries, hearing loss is often left undetected in all age ranges due to the lack of hearing screening availability. It is estimated that 6 per 1000 infants, in developing countries, have hearing loss; however, the incidence may be even higher due to the large number of births occurring outside of hospital settings. Currently, parental suspicion is the predominate mode of detection and usually is not noticed until the average of 22 months of age. In order to lower the average age of detection, universal newborn hearing screenings should be implemented in developed and developing countries. Unfortunately, in the past, information regarding hearing healthcare in developing countries has been limited. In hopes of educating audiologists and other professions of the need to provide services in third world countries, I have created a wikipedia pages that offer the most current research and will make public the current available data on specific developing countries in hopes that fellow audiologists will continue to contribute to the database. This website will help aid in the development of an appropriate universal newborn hearing screening in developing countries. The website will cover other key areas in addition to newborn screenings, such as prevention, identification, amplification availability, and therapeutic intervention. A sample of the website will be presented on the poster. In developing countries, for example, the ideal screening test would be simple to apply and teach, safe, and valid. Possible screening sites would include hospitals and immunization clinics, though further research is needed on the success of these locations. Challenges faced may include: screening babies born outside hospitals, establishing and educating a team, follow-up care, confirmatory testing, provision of amplification, and financial resources to support screening.

  • Recall the issues faced when developing a newborn hearing screening program in developing countries
  • Contribute to the humanitarian audiology efforts being put forth in developing countries

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Laurel Thorburn (Primary Presenter,Author,POC), University of Colorado - Boulder, laurel.thorburn@colorado.edu;
Laurel Thorburn is a current audiology graduate student at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Laurel is passionate about helping those in need in both developed and developing countries. Having spent a great deal of time working with underprivileged orphanages in Peru and Mexico, Laurel knew that whatever career she chose to pursue had to allow her to give back to the community and help those in need. With the guidance of Dr. Yoshinaga-Itano, Laurel has been able to make these dreams a reality and has grown both as a student and as a future humanitarian audiologist.


Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.

Christine Yoshinaga-Itano (Author), University of Colorado-Boulder, Christie.Yoshi@colorado.edu;
Dr. Christine Yoshinaga-Itano is a Research Professor in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, faculty of the Institute of Cognitive Science, Center for Neurosciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Department of Otolaryngology and Audiology at the University of Colorado, Denver and the Marion Downs Center. In 1996 she developed the Marion Downs National Center. Since 1996, Dr. Yoshinaga-Itano has assisted many state departments of education and public health agencies, schools for the deaf and blind, and early intervention programs throughout the United States and its territories. In addition, she has served as a consultant for many countries currently developing their early hearing detection and intervention programs, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, Korea, Belgium, Poland, Spain, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Thailand, Philippines, and South Africa.


Financial - Receives Salary,Grants for Other activities from Disability Research Dissemination Center.   Receives Salary,Other financial benefit for Other activities from LEND Grant.   Receives Salary for Employment,Other activities from University of Colorado, Boulder.  

Nonfinancial - Has a Professional (American Academy of Audiology representative on the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing) relationship for Board membership.  

Sandra Gabbard (Author), Marion Downs Center, sandra.gabbard@mariondowns.org;
She is an Associate Professor of Audiology at the University of Colorado where she is the Coordinator of the Pediatric Audiology LEND MCHB training grant, which supports AuD students and post-doctoral audiologists to expand their expertise in pediatric audiology.


Financial -

Nonfinancial -