Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) is the process of identifying newborns with permanent hearing loss as soon as possible. A child with any level of hearing impairment is known to be at risk for developmental abnormalities, especially in socialization, language development, and early literacy. The sooner a child’s hearing loss is recognized, and customized assistance is provided to the kid and family, the better the child’s language and learning results may be.
Furthermore, Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program (EHDI) collaborates with health care professionals such as maternity hospitals, audiologists, primary care clinicians, otolaryngologists, and early intervention providers to ensure that:
- All newborns are tested for hearing by the age of one month.
- When screening suggests a hearing loss, infants are referred for a hearing evaluation by 3 months of age.
- Early intervention therapies are provided to infants with documented hearing loss by the age of six months.
- Infants who are at risk of developing late-onset or progressive hearing loss are monitored regularly to detect any new hearing loss.
The Prevalence of Hearing Loss in Young Children
Estimates of the national prevalence of hearing loss in newborns range from 1 to 6 babies per 1000 births. According to statistics, approximately 3-4% of all infants and young children enrolled in Part C Infant and Toddler Intervention programs have permanent hearing impairment. A quarter of these newborns and toddlers with hearing loss also have other developmental issues.
A proportion of young infants who passed neonatal hearing screening may nonetheless have hearing loss throughout their early childhood years. The number of children with hearing loss may more than double by the time they start kindergarten. It is critical to continue hearing screening and follow-up assistance throughout preschool.
Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Program’s Goal
EHDI recommended the implementation of territorial and state programs and systems of care that identify deaf or hard-of-hearing children through baby, infant, and small child hearing screening and that would provide diagnosis and early detection to achieve maximum linguistic, reading, cognitive, and social development.
In addition, it ensures that children with hearing impairment have access to community services and a medical home based on the family, that they undergo early and ongoing screening, and that their families, parents, and caretakers are active in their treatment.