Quebec Government Launches Universal New Born Hearing Screening Program

Montreal – July 16, 2009: The Quebec Coalition for Universal Newborn Hearing Screening (UNHS) profoundly thanks M Yves Bolduc, the Quebec Minister for Health and Social Services and Mme Lise Thériault, the Quebec Minister for Social Services who announced today that the Government of Quebec will launch a Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program.

“This is a great day for the children of Quebec. A universal newborn hearing program will have a profound impact on the hundreds of Quebec babies born each year with complete or partial hearing loss,” says Mr. Claudio Bussandri, Chair of the Coalition. “Thanks to the efforts of Minister. Bolduc and Minister Thériault and the Government of Quebec, all maternity wards will now be able to systematically test for potential hearing impairments in newborns.”

“On behalf of the Coalition, we want to publicly thank Minister Bolduc and Minister Thériault for establishing a universal newborn hearing screening program. This cost-effective program will allow children with complete or partial hearing loss to flourish,” says Dr. Hema Patel, co-chair of the Coalition and a pediatrician at The Montreal Children’s Hospital of the MUHC.  “Thanks to this new program and early intervention, children with hearing loss will be able to attend regular school, keep pace with their peers and reach their full potential.”

Hearing loss is the most common birth defect affecting 1 to 3 of every 1000 newborns. “Thanks to such things as hearing aids, cochlear implants, bone anchored hearing aids, these children will be able to hear their mother’s voice, hear birds sing, listen to Beethoven or, even Beyoncé,” notes Mr. Bussandri. “They will no longer be imprisoned by silence. The Quebec government’s Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program is a gift. It is a gift to the children of Quebec, the gift of hearing.”

Both Mr. Bussandri and Dr. Patel went on to thank the 64 members of the Quebec Coalition for Newborn Hearing Screening. The coalition’s members represent hospitals, universities, schools, rehabilitation centers, health care associations and other organizations across Quebec. Collectively, the members of the Coalition have worked hard during the past year to make a universal newborn hearing program a reality.

M. Bussandri also noted that the Quebec Coalition for Universal Newborn Hearing Screening looked forward to working with the Government of Quebec every step of the way during the implementation of the new program. 

For more information please call:
Lisa Dutton
Manager Public Relations and Communications
The Montreal Children’s Hospital of the MUHC
514-412-4307
Lisa.Dutton@muhc.mcgill.ca