1Struttura Complessa di Audiologia e Otorinolaringoiatria, IRCCS Materno-Infantile “Burlo Garofolo”, Trieste
2Pediatra di famiglia nel Distretto di Maniago, Azienda Sanitaria 6
3Pediatra di famiglia nell’Azienda Sanitaria 6, Pordenone
4Dottore in psicologia e docente di scuola secondaria, Trieste
5Azienda Ospedaliera S. Maria degli Angeli, Pordenone
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Key words: Hearing loss, Hearing impairment, Audiological surveillance, Audiological assessment
Newborn hearing screening programmes, voluntarily carried out or regulated by regional norms, have developed themselves into a standardized health organization system in several Italian regions in a few years. Hospital-based programmes are generally structured to achieve a high coverage of the newborn population, are widely recognized as the standard of care and have a good level of knowledge among the stakeholders. It is however necessary to exploit the screening potential as well as to improve the diagnostic evaluation and the early intervention process. This implies the need to increase the capacity of paediatric audiological services. A further requirement is to standardize the auditory surveillance and vigilance practice, in order to comprise children who missed the screening test, and to support detection of cases that develop a progressive or lateonset hearing loss. The principal aim will be to develop an integrated healthcare model of early hearing detection and intervention, which links the hospital and the territory, and avoids -or minimizes- the developmental communication delays that are typically observed in hearing impaired children with late diagnosis and treatment. The next future encompasses the opportunity to combine diagnostic, therapeutic and rehabilitative innovations with the experience achieved by the regions where universal newborn hearing screening programmes have been already set.
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