Taipei County offers free hearing tests for newborns


TAIPEI, Taiwan — All newborns aged three days to one month with at least one parent registered as a Taipei County resident can get a free hearing test at one of the 12 designated hospitals or clinics located in the county, the county’s Public Health Bureau said yesterday.

Foreign nationals can also enjoy the service as long as one of the newborn’s parents can prove residency in the county, said Chia Shu-li, a section chief at the bureau.

Chia said that since Taipei County began offering the service last month, a total of 998 infants were checked and 22 cases of abnormal hearing detected.

Studies have shown that one in every 500 newborns will end up needing a hearing aid during their childhood, but if hearing problems are detected within a child’s first six months of life, many infants can eventually restore their hearing to a normal level, the bureau said in explaining the rationale behind the program.

The 12 medical centers include well-known hospitals such as Far Eastern Memorial Hospital,Taipei Medical University Shuang-ho Hospital, Sijhih Cathay General Hospital, Mackay Hospital Danshui, and Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital Taipei Branch.