What is Pediatric Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI)?
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.
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.
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 can I expect with Pediatric Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI)?
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.