A new hearing device at Wilson McKewen Rehabilitation Center will detect hearing loss in infants and will help prevent long-term hearing complications.
A grant provided by the Pineywoods Foundation has allowed Wilson McKewen Rehabilitation Center , in affiliation with Memorial Health System of East Texas, to purchase the new automated brainstem response (ABR) testing instrument.
The ABR is especially useful in evaluating hearing whenever behavioral testing is impossible, such as with infants or uncooperative children and adults.
Bryant Krenek, chief executive officer of Memorial Health System, said the staff at Wilson McKewen and Memorial are very grateful to the Pineywoods Foundation for giving them the opportunity to purchase the machine. "We will now be able to better serve our patients, and prevent some of the life-long complications associated with hearing loss," said Krenek.
In May of 2000, Texas Legislature passed a bill requiring all Texas newborns to have a hearing screen during their newborn hospital stay. This law called for the Texas Department of Health to establish a newborn hearing screening, tracking and intervention program.
Krenek said Wilson Mckewen's previous ABR was outdated and the manufacturer no longer carried that particular model, making parts unavailable. With this newer model, doctors will be able to run more accurate tests on babies suspected of hearing loss.
"Hearing impaired children are at a significant risk for delayed speech/language development and limited academic achievement. Early detection and intervention will result in financial savings to the family, the impaired person and tax payers," said Krenek.
Wilson McKewen has the only ABR instrument in the area to provide these services. "We are the only facility within an 80-mile radius serving Angelina County that has this ABR instrument," said Krenek.