from The Californian
March 28, 2011 -- The Walmart Foundation, through its California State Giving Program, awarded $50,000 to the Natividad Medical Foundation to purchase three hand-held hearing screeners Monday.
The devices will help the medical staff test the hearing of the more than 2,700 babies born at the hospital each year through its Healthy Hearing Program.
According to Judy Rasmussen, NMC's director of Women and Children's Services, hearing loss is the No. 1 birth abnormality in the United States. Half of children with hearing loss have no identifiable risk factors making detection based on symptoms unreliable. Universal screening, rather than targeted screening, ensures that every baby will be screened and that those with permanent congenital hearing loss can be identified and treated immediately.
"Natividad Medical Center was the first hospital on the Central Coast to offer universal newborn hearing screening. We screen every baby — from the tiny newborn growing and healing in the NICU to the full-term, healthy babies delivered every day — to make sure each one is screened before they go home," Rasmussen said in a statement.