Pediatric Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI)

Pediatric Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI)

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Summary

A wide range of specialists support children who are deaf/hard of hearing and their families to promote their best possible outcomes in language, development, and overall well-being.  Services may include audiology, otolaryngology (ENT), speech, the Family-Focused Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children, and the Cochlear Implant team.

Expanded Overview

Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) refers to the practice of identifying infants who are deaf/hard of hearing to ensure that appropriate services are made available.  Infants and children who are deaf or hard of hearing may experience delayed development in language, learning, and speech, particularly if they are not identified early.  EHDI recommendations include screening the hearing of all infants by no later than one month of age, pediatric audiological diagnostic evaluation for infants who do not pass their newborn hearing screenings no later than 3 months of age, and provision of services (language support, early intervention, amplification, etc.) by no later than 6 months of age. 

This is an important practice because access to language is vital to an infant’s social, emotional, and cognitive development. Even a mild or partial change in hearing can affect a child's ability to speak and understand spoken language.

If your baby does not pass the hearing screening, it doesn't necessarily mean he or she is deaf or hard of hearing. Because debris or fluid in the ear can interfere with the screening, it's important to have your infant evaluated by a pediatric audiologist as soon as possible, and no later than three months of age.

Children who seem to have typical hearing should continue to have their hearing evaluated at regular doctors' appointments.  In-office hearing screening is usually done at ages 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10, and any other time if there's a concern from a parent or guardian that a child may have decreased hearing.

What to Expect

During the hearing screening, our pediatric audiologists use state-of-the-art procedures to test your baby’s hearing. These tests can include:

If your child is identified as deaf or hard of hearing, we will refer you to a care team that can include an audiologist, otolaryngologist (ENT), family-focused care coordination specialist, and any other necessary specialists.  Early intervention is an important step in giving your child the best opportunity for optimal development.

FAQs

Why does my child need a hearing screen?

State law requires all maternity hospitals and birthing centers to administer or refer for newborn hearing screening services. Hearing screening helps determine if your baby needs in-depth testing of their hearing.  Hearing is vital to an infant’s social, emotional, and cognitive development. Even a mild or partial hearing change can affect a child's ability to speak and understand language.

What does the screen measure?

The hearing screen can show if your baby's outer and inner ear and, depending on the screening, lower part of the auditory system (brain stem) are functioning.

Will my baby feel pain during the test?

The newborn hearing screening is painless and is usually performed when your baby is asleep.

What if my baby doesn’t pass the test?

If your baby does not pass the hearing screening, it doesn't necessarily mean there is a change in hearing. Because debris or fluid in the ear can interfere with the screen, it's important to have your baby evaluated by a pediatric audiologist as soon as possible, but no later than 3 months of age.

What happens if my child is identified as deaf or hard of hearing?

If a child is identified as deaf or hard of hearing, we will refer you to a care team that can include an audiologist, otolaryngologist (ENT), family-focused care coordination specialist, and any other necessary provider. Early intervention is an important step in giving you child the best opportunity for optimal development.

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