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Proyecto Sordera Infantil

The incidence of neonatal deafness in Europe and North America is around 1-2 per thousand and doubles in the first few years of life, representing the most frequent factor of disability. In emerging countries it is estimated that the incidence of deafness is double that in Europe. In Peru this happens for many reasons: the widespread poverty and poor sanitation conditions that favor epidemics and severely limit the use of adequate medical treatments, the lack of national public health programs and the lack of disclosure of public information on the causes and management of deafness. In addition, in hospital neonatology wards there is an excessive use of highly ototoxic inexpensive antibiotics, which cause severe deafness. Deafness is recognized late and deaf children are placed in schools where they teach only sign language to communicate. However, the social integration of deaf children in Peru is much more difficult than in countries where welfare is well developed, and children end up being a burden on the family. Health deficencies and general ignorance of the deafness problem persistently prevent the recognition of medium severity deafness which could be easily corrected with hearing aids allowing many children to have normal psycholinguistic and social development.

The ACIP addressed the problem in a comprehensive way:
1) Free campaigns for hearing assessment for children at risk of deafness in poor communities
2) Purchase of new hearing aids and application of the same to deaf children and organization of a hearing aid network
3) Creation in 2 schools (Piura and Arequipa) of classes for audioverbal rehabilitation with teachers trained by speech therapists, and ateliers for parents
4) Cultural updating of doctors (ENT, neonatologists and pediatricians), hearing care professionals, audiologists and speech therapists through congresses, conferences, seminars
5) Communications and health informations to the media and high-level politicians

• 460 hearing aids distributed to 245 children or teenagers in 5 boarding schools
• 6 audiological equipments also for early screeing of newborns
• 2 speech therapists salaried directly by ACIP
• 10 public teachers trained in audioverbal rehabilitation
• 80 children rehabilitated
cooperation agreement between the University of Ferrara and the Catholic University of Arequipa for the creation of a school of Audiology

Over the past 4 years hearing loss screening has dropped to include newborns and audiverbal rehabilitation has extended to 2-years-olds.
The Piura region has decided to open a boarding school (now under construction) for deaf children which it will call boarding school Trieste.