Ear testing equipment arrives at hospital

Members of the Hay River Elks Club and the Hay River Hospital Foundation board assembled to formally receive infant ear testing equipment donated to public health by the Elks.
Front row: Judy Steele, Francis Aylward, Heather Coakwell. Second Row: Donna Lee Jungkind, Kerry Setzer, Gary Hoffman and Erin Griffiths.
– Angele Cano/NNSL photo

Infants that need to take mandatory hearing tests will now be able to do so in Hay River.

The Hay River Hospital foundation got together with the Elks on July 24 to formally receive the AuDX Pro, a small $5,600 piece of medical equipment used to test infant hearing shortly after they are born. Babies born in Yellowknife or Alberta are required to have two hearing tests before they return home, and sometimes the results are inconclusive. This leads to a costly trip from their home community to hospitals, or in many cases, no re-testing at all.

“Some babies don’t have that testing again before the age of two and you don’t pick up on any problems until that age or later,” said public health nurse Francis Aylward. “ I think that’s a real shame.”

There are 10 active members in the Hay River Elks Club who agreed to the donation as part of a larger awareness program for hearing and speech disorders.

“It’s a need for the community,” said Elks member Gary Hoffman. “If you don’t pick up on hearing (deficiencies) until two years old, that’s really too late.”

The hospital foundation held its annual general meeting shortly after the official presentation to review the programs it has contributed to.

In the last year $95,244 was doled out to three different campaigns to purchase medical examination equipment including a new ultrasound table, a standing weigh scale, a laryngoscope, bladder scanner and geriatric chair.

For the upcoming year, the foundation has just recently made a commitment to purchase a medication unit dosing machine. The machine will help increase efficiency of treatment, alleviate dosing errors, and bring the hospital exemplary accreditation, said board chairperson Heather Coakwell.

“Having high accreditation holds us at a very high standard in health care,” said board secretary Erin Griffiths.

An audiology team will arrive in Hay River this September to train the public health team to use the equipment and staff at public health are ready to integrate it into their services.

“We’re really lucky to have received this,” said Aylward. “I think it will benefit a lot of children.”