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Revista médica de Chile

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ALBERTZ, Nicolás et al. Universal screening program and early intervention (uspei) in congenital bilateral sensorineural hearing loss in Chile. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2013, vol.141, n.8, pp.1057-1063. ISSN 0034-9887.

Congenital hearing loss is the total or partial inability to hear sounds through the ears. It is the most common disability in newborns in Chile and worldwide, and is a permanent condition. The direct impact on children who are not adequately diagnosed is the alteration in acquisition of language and cognitive skills and a decline in their social and school insertion, jeopardizing their professional and potentially productive life. Universal screening programs for hearing loss are essential for the diagnosis, since 50% of infants with hearing loss have no known risk factor. Screening before one month of age, confirmation before 3 months, and effective intervention before 6 months, allows the development of these children as if they had normal hearing. In Chile there is a selective program of screening for infants aged less than 32 weeks or 1,500 grams, as part of Explicit Health Guarantees, but it covers only 0.9% of newborns per year. Therefore, a large majority of children remain without diagnosis. The aim of this review is to compare the situation in Chile with other countries, raising the need to move towards a universal neonatal hearing loss screening program, and propose necessary conditions in terms of justification and implementation of a universal screening public policy.

Keywords : Health policy; Hearing loss; Neonatal screening.

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