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Healthy Hearing Has New 'Websource'

Twenty-eight million Americans are deaf or hard of hearing. For every 1,000 babies born in the United States, 2-3 of them will have a hearing loss that will affect language learning. There are 30 million Americans exposed to dangerous levels of noise each day and the data show that individuals are losing hearing from noise exposure at younger ages.

Public health planners recognized the need to place both hearing and vision on the national health agenda by giving these two important areas a new chapter in the decade-long effort to improve the nation's health, "Healthy People 2010." NIDCD has the lead on the Healthy Hearing initiative and has called together a working group of agencies and public organizations to ensure dissemination of information and collection of data. Drs. Marin Allen and Judith Cooper cochair the working group.

NIDCD is launching a "Healthy Hearing Websource" in order to have a central point for collecting progress, sharing resources and information, and disseminating science-based information to the public. The design for this new resource was shared with the working group of representatives from the Centers for Disease Control, the National Center for Health Statistics, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the Department of Education, the Indian Health Service, and other groups. The WebPages of this resource will include a dissemination "toolkit" as well as links to more agencies and resources. These designated web pages will include a reporting map of activities across the country and published, peer-reviewed data sets as well as pilot data available from a variety of sources.

The hearing health objectives that are being measured by HP2010 are: to increase newborn hearing screening, testing and intervention; to reduce otitis media in children; to increase access to hearing devices and services; to increase proportion of people who have a hearing exam on schedule; to increase referrals for hearing exams; to increase the use of hearing protection; and, to reduce noise-induced hearing loss in children, adolescents and adults.

The Healthy Hearing Websource makes the work of the partnering organizations available to all and gives the committee an opportunity for interactive exchange. Watch for it at www.nidcd.nih.gov. For more about HP2010 and Healthy Hearing, call 496-7243.


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