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UNC Children's Audiology Program Receives International Award for Excellence

UNC Children’s audiology program to commemorate 15 years of newborn hearing screening by reuniting early patients served with their caregivers at an award ceremony recognizing excellence in the field. World renowned audiologist, Dr. Richard Seewald, for whom the honor is named, will present the award on behalf of the Hear the World Foundation.

In 1999, North Carolina joined many states by passing legislation requiring newborn hearing screening of all newborn infants, a mandate that came with the challenge of providing diagnosis and treatment for babies born with permanent hearing loss. The following year, UNC Pediatric Audiology initiated a comprehensive program to serve infants and children with hearing loss. Fifteen years later, the program follows over 1,500 children with permanent hearing loss, averaging approximately 13,000 patient visits and performing more than 350 infant diagnostic hearing assessments with auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing each year.

UNC Pediatric Audiology has been selected to receive the Richard Seewald Award, an international award conferred annually by the Hear the World Foundation to recognize an exemplary program specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss in children.

Internationally renowned audiologist, Dr. Richard Seewald, a professor emeritus in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Western Ontario—the man for whom the honor is named—will present the award at a formal ceremony, the culmination of a day of clinical observation and scholarship.

Dr. Seewald will be joined by three young patients, who were among the first to benefit from UNC Pediatric Audiology’s implementation of newborn hearing screening. With early identification of their hearing loss, each received hearing aid fitting within weeks of birth. Now teenagers, all three children are on par with their peers academically and excelling in a variety of extracurricular activities, including the high school band, soccer, and ballet. Their unique successes illustrate the critical importance of early identification followed by early intervention for children born with permanent hearing loss.

ABOUT UNC CHILDREN’S

UNC Children's protects the health and well-being of all North Carolina children, aligning world-class clinical care, advocacy, research and education in our four-tiered mission to CARE.” As experts in the treatment of children with virtually any disease or disorder, our clinical specialists work hand-in-hand with community hospitals and pediatricians across the state, providing specialty care to more than 70,000 children from all 100 counties each year— always regardless of a family’s ability to pay.

UNC Children’s offers complete inpatient and outpatient care at our 150-bed, state-of-the-art clinical home, N.C. Children’s Hospital, a part of UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. We also bring care “closer to home” through more than two dozen satellite outpatient clinics located throughout North Carolina. Learn more at uncchildrens.org.

ABOUT THE HEAR THE WORLD FOUNDATION

The Hear the World Foundation is a Swiss based charity founded in 2006 by Sonova, the leading manufacturer of innovative hearing care solutions. The foundation advocates for equal opportunities and improved quality of life for people with hearing loss around the world. The Foundation’s aim is to create a world in which each person has the chance for good hearing. The Richard Seewald award is conferred annually to recognize an exemplary program specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss in children.

Since 2010, the Hear the World Foundation has contributed more than $75,000 to help fund UNC’s Judith Gravel Fellowship, which provides a mentored clinical experience to an outstanding graduate student pursuing a career as a pediatric audiologist. The fellowship creates a comprehensive, well-rounded experience that includes both the technical and interpersonal demands of a pediatric audiologist and is recognized as a model program for building professional capacity in the field.