Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) refers to the practice of screening newborns for hearing loss before 1 month of age, preferably prior to hospital discharge.
The infants who do not pass the screening will receive a diagnostic evaluation before three months of age and are enrolled in Early Intervention Programs by six months of age.
Newborns and infants identified with a hearing loss will receive appropriate early intervention services, including an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). Hear 2 Learn is proud to play an important role in this process as a pediatric facility that provides both diagnostic audiological evaluations and specialized therapies.
Why is it Important to Assess Hearing in Infants?
Before newborn hearing screening was commonplace, hearing loss was often not identified until children were 2 ½ to 3 years old, and these children often fell behind with speech, language and social skills. In 2000, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducted a study that revealed that children who were identified as having a hearing loss and treated early, acquired language skills on par with their normal hearing peers. Learn more on Newborn Hearing Screening here.
Although universal newborn hearing screening is designed to identify infants who have congenital hearing loss, it is important to acknowledge that some infants may have mild losses that are not detected initially and become more severe over time (progressive loss). Other children may experience a permanent hearing loss at some point after birth (late-onset or delayed-onset loss). If a child has unilateral, mild, or chronic conductive hearing loss or is “at risk” for progressive or delayed-onset hearing loss, audiologic monitoring may be recommended.
Hearing Loss Types
Your child may be referred to take an assessment to determine which type of hearing loss is present. Your child may have many different degrees of hearing loss problems. These hearing loss types may include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- Conductive Hearing Loss - This type of hearing loss may be caused by fluid or congestion in the ear, ear infections or wax impacted in the ear canal. Conductive hearing loss can be caused by something that obstructs sound from passing through the outer or middle ear. This hearing loss type can sometimes be treated by a pediatrician, an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist, or with medicine or surgery.
- Sensory/ Neural Hearing Loss - This type of hearing loss is, in some cases, tracked back to damage being brought to the hair cells in the cochlea or hearing nerves. Sensorineural Hearing Loss can be permanent. Fitting the ear for hearing aids or FM systems may be recommended by an ENT specialist.
- Mixed Hearing Loss - Mixed Hearing Loss may be a combination of conductive hearing loss (mechanical problem) and sensorineural hearing loss (cochlear problem). The conductive hearing loss (mechanical problem) component of the hearing loss may be temporary and should be treated by a physician if necessary.
The assessment reveals the type and severity of the hearing loss. A scale of hearing loss from mild to profound has been established in order to classify the loss and to help determine what communication impact the hearing loss may have on the child.
Information & Resources for Parents Who Have Children with Hearing Loss
- Early Childhood Hearing Screening & Follow-up
- Early Hearing Detection and Vocabulary of Children with Hearing Loss
- Early Intervention for Hearing Loss
Questions on Early Hearing Detection and Intervention?
Our audiologists are ready to work with your family and answer any questions you may have about Early Hearing Detection and Hearing loss in infants.