A new test has come to the Drumheller Health Center, and to health centers all across Alberta, to test infant's hearing.

Tanis Howart, a spokesperson for the Alberta Health Services explained why this program was implemented.

"There's been a desire to have infants across Alberta have their hearing screened, and we've had pockets of [people wanting to have their infants tested]. The government provided funding and an opportunity to deliver it to all infants."

The test consists of putting a small probe into the baby's ear, then a soft sound is played from that probe. The response from that sound is measured and that reaction will determine whether the baby is hearing well or not. Howart explained what to do to get this test done.

"In Drumheller, a parent would go to the Drumheller Health Center and then you would go in and there would be a hearing screener, they describe the test, and make sure the parent is comfortable with going ahead with it."

This test is important because it gives parents a chance to get ahead of language development in case their baby does have a hearing deficiency. Strong language development is critical to learning, literacy and child development. Tanis explains more about why this test is important.

"We're identifying hearing loss early so that if hearing loss is present we are able to support families to get the intervention services they need for their children which really is about ensuring the language development."

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