This program involves early screening of hearing loss in new-born and infants up to 2 years and related parent counselling. Along with the screening, the program provides parent counselling on available resources such as technological habitation, social and emotional support, assistance with school enrolment and obtaining necessary certificates and government welfare benefits like Cochlear implants and UDID cards.
The program also focuses on Parent-Infant support, where identified babies with hearing loss are provided with technological habitation such as hearing aid fitting and battery supply, along with regular therapy. Additionally, parents are trained to communicate with their children in a natural home environment. Overall, the program is designed to support parents and infants in navigating the challenges of hearing loss and ensuring access to necessary resources and support for optimal development and well-being.
VAANI also works closely with the hospitals to ensure that the screening process is integrated into routine newborn care and that all newborns have access to screening services. The screening centres are built in partnership with our technical partner SOHUM Innovation Labs. Sohum uses brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER or ABR) technology which is the gold standard in auditory testing and is recommended as the test of choice by the American Association of Paediatrics (US) and the National Health Services (NHS-UK). This is a novel technology for newborn hearing screening, which can perform, in resource-poor
settings with high sensitivity and specificity to prevent speech loss. ABR technology is more robust and can stimulate brainstem/neurological pathways. After the screening, mothers are counselled on the importance of follow-up diagnostic testing, treatment options, and strategies to prevent hearing loss. Through this partnership, VAANI is making a significant contribution to the Universal New Born Screening Programme (UNHSP) by expanding the reach of screening services to remote and underserved areas and promoting early intervention for hearing-impaired children. The success of this program highlights the importance of collaboration between the government, NGOs, and other stakeholders in addressing critical health issues affecting children.
Currently, VAANI has established partnerships with government hospitals in Karnataka, West Bengal, and Assam, resulting in the establishment of eight newborn screening centres. Through these centres, VAANI has successfully screened 20,000+ newborn babies for hearing loss. Additionally, VAANI has provided parent counselling to 20,000+ mothers, focusing on the prevention of hearing loss and the importance of maintaining ear health.