There are about 309,000 children in Mongolia (11% of the total population) between 0-5 years of age, the critical years of language development. Since there is currently no universal hearing screening for infants and young children in the country, the potential is great for late identification of hearing loss which can permanently affect their language development.

The Mongolia Ministry of Health issued a decree in 2014 in response to this gap in services to develop and implement a national newborn hearing screening program. Further, the medical community recognizes a need to build professional capacity to support the audiological and early intervention needs of babies and children identified with hearing loss. 

The Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss is working in partnership with the Ministry of Health to carry out a mutli-year program that will address these critical needs. The implementation of this project, which includes equipment and training for Mongolia’s maternal and regional hospitals, will have a direct and lasting significant positive impact on thousands of children with hearing loss in Mongolia over time.

The program launched in September 2016 when the Global Foundation supplied hearing screening devices to the maternal and child hospitals in the capital of Ulaanbaatar.  Training on use of the equipment was also provided. This event enabled the first large-scale hearing screening initiative to begin in Mongolia. Prior to this distribution of equipment, there was only one hospital that had the capability to screen newborns and at a very limited scale.  It is estimated that 200 babies will be identified with hearing loss each year as a result of this effort. This does not account for the toddlers and young children who will also benefit from the new capacity to screen for hearing loss that did not previously exist.

Since then, the Mongolians and the Global Foundation have worked together to continue training, develop new procedures for screening babies in the country, and to design a system for managing referrals of babies who do not pass their hearing screening. 

In addition, the Global Foundation has provided training to medical professionals in pediatric audiology and therapists and teachers in auditory-verbal therapy. Speech therapy in general, and auditory-verbal practice specifically, is a new profession in Mongolia, so it is exciting to be on the ground floor of this development of care.

Both the Global Foundation pediatric audiology and auditory-verbal speech therapy training programs are designed to be taught over a period of time to the same participants so they can build their skills. The top participants will eventually be prepared to teach the Global Foundation curriculum to others in the country, making the benefits exponential and sustainable. The material is taught by the Global Foundation’s team of specialists in pediatric audiology and auditory-verbal practice, many of whom are recognized international experts in their fields.

The Global Foundation has also provided workshops for families of children with hearing loss. These are designed to raise family understanding of their children’s hearing and what they can do at home to help their children overcome the effects of hearing loss. 

This 3-minute video that captures highlights of our on-site training and development efforts in Mongolia in September 2017: