Don't Come Home Without It

While the National Campaign for Hearing Health completely concurs with the idea expressed in "Don't Come Home Without It" [Health News, August 10] that hearing screening is an important first step toward healthy child development, we believe that the importance of intervention, the second critical step to ensuring normal language development and learning, should also be communicated.

A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics found that a child's language development is greatly impaired if hearing loss is not detected within the first six months of life. Despite this knowledge, and despite the existence of the simple test highlighted in your story, hundreds of babies leave the hospital each year with undetected hearing problems.

The National Campaign for Hearing Health is committed to changing this. The campaign has embarked on a five-year public awareness and advocacy initiative to promote mandatory infant testing across the United States and educate people about the importance of hearing health.

For more information, call the National Campaign for Hearing Health at 1-800-829-5934 or visit our Web site, www.hearinghealth.net.

Elizabeth Foster

Director,

National Campaign for Hearing Health

Washington

Research Spending and the Mentally Ill

Richard McCarty's statement in "Should the Mentally Ill Have a Say on Research Spending?" [Forum, August 10] that it is "totally inappropriate" to involve "lay people" in "scientific review committees" on mental health at the National Institute of Mental Health displays, to my mind, a highly presumptive view of the lack of bias and emotion that scientists themselves would display in this process.

While I agree that a scientific review committee is no place to educate someone on the scientific process, establishing job criteria (such as having a PhD and being a consumer of mental health services) would remedy that potential difficulty. Moreover, I suggest McCarty consider that scientific research is no less influenced by politics than any other human endeavor, and that diversity can be embraced without compromising standards.

E. Linda Rafats

Potomac

Correction

In last week's Health section, Susan Okie's byline was inadvertently left off the Cover Story on Page 10.

Also, a quote in that story on tuberculosis was edited incorrectly. Arata Kochi, the director of communicable disease prevention and control for the World Health Organization, said that if countries don't have a good program for treating drug-sensitive TB, "it's no use to start introducing regimens" for treating drug-resistant TB.