GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – East Carolina University uses real-time video technology to expand access for babies with hearing loss.

Parents are required to have their baby’s hearing tested, and a health provider must refer the baby for follow-up care if she detects any issues.

But Professor Andrew Stewart said a 2006 to 2012 CDC study found North Carolina parents didn’t follow up on additional hearing tests for half of newborn babies that needed them.

“If [babies are] not developing speech and language, that has great consequences for their academic performance and their livelihood as adults,” Prof. Stewart said. one reason many parents in the east don’t follow up is because some have to drive long distances to

He said one reason many parents in the East don’t follow up is that some have to drive long distances to hearing centers.

It’s why Professor Stewart and his colleagues are doing hearing tests through real-time video feed from ECU’s Health Sciences campus to one of the school’s 11 telemedicine centers.

“It’s fantastic,” Prof. Stewart said. “I’m doing some tests with equipment that I didn’t even study when I was a student.”

Professor Stewart said the technology lowered the number of babies in the east lost to follow-up from 50 percent to 10-20 percent.

For a list of ECU’s telemedicine centers, click here.