Where Universal Newborn Hearing Screening (UNHS) in Australia is concerned, there are two clear truths to the statement that “well begun is not all done”. First, given that it is now more than 7 years since the first state-wide UNHS program was introduced, it is apparent that what was well begun in New South Wales in 2002 is certainly not yet “all done” on a national level. Quite simply, we are still yet to achieve a situation where every newborn Australian child is guaranteed the opportunity to have their hearing screened. Second, even though the available evidence indicates that earlier identification of hearing loss is linked to better language and educational outcomes for children with congenital hearing loss (Kennedy et al., 2006; Yoshinaga-Itano, 2004), it is abundantly clear that those benefits are not guaranteed simply by the act of early identification. From a developmental and educational perspective, the real benefits of earlier identification and confirmation of hearing loss lie in securing the basis for earlier intervention. The extent of the advantage gained by earlier identification still lies in the quality and timeliness of the interventions that proceed from that identification—not the act of identification itself.
6th National Deafness Sector Summit. The 2010 Libby Harricks Memorial Oration (Sydney 23-24, April 2010) p. 7-31