Quebec criticized for lagging on hearing loss detection in babies

File photo. (Shestakoff / Shutterstock.com)

Two Quebec associations are criticizing how slow the province has been to extend access to the Quebec newborn hearing test program (PQDSN), saying it is lagging far behind other Canadian jurisdictions.

The Ordre des orthophonistes et audiologistes du Québec (OOAQ) and the Association du Québec pour enfants avec problèmes auditifs (AQEPA) state that 53 per cent of babies in Quebec have access to the program, while in British Columbia and Ontario, 97 per cent and 94 per cent, respectively, are screened at birth.

The two associations point out that the Quebec program was announced in 2009, but has yet to be completed.

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

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

Both organizations point out that hearing loss is the second most common disorder, along with visual impairment, in children under the age of five.

Each year, four to six out of every 1,000 babies are born with hearing loss and more than 90 per cent of those children are born to hearing parents who are not aware of that possibility.

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

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