Significant hearing loss is defined as a permanent hearing loss of over 40dB in both ears. The number of babies born with a significant hearing loss is 1 to 1.5 babies of every 1000 live births. In Victoria there are between 60 and 90 babies born with significant hearing loss each year. Throughout Australia up to 300 babies are born with significant hearing loss.
If significant hearing loss in both ears remains undetected, it can have profound effects on speech, language and cognitive development and thus it can impact on emotional and social well being. Early intervention programs are available to help parents reduce the impact of hearing loss.
More than 90% of children with permanent hearing loss are born to parents who have normal hearing and who often know nothing about hearing loss. Early childhood intervention aims to help parents cope with the diagnosis and then facilitate optimum outcomes for their child.