Any degree of hearing loss can negatively impact a child’s speech, language, social and emotional development, and academic success. Unfortunately, babies cannot tell us if they can hear. Therefore, infant hearing screening was developed to provide a quick, harmless and effective way to determine if a baby can hear sounds needed for speech and language. The earlier children are diagnosed with hearing loss and begin early intervention services, the more likely they are to reach their full potential. Pediatric Medical Home providers can be vital in assisting families through the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) process by following national guidelines.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “hearing loss is the most common congenital condition in the United States (US). Each year, an estimated three in 1,000 infants are born in the US with moderate, severe, or profound hearing loss resulting in delayed development in language, learning, and speech. Children who are deaf or hard of hearing face a potential developmental emergency and should be identified as quickly as possible so that appropriate intervention services can be started.”
To address these issues, the AAP has developed several tools and resources that Primary Care Clinicians can use to guide the primary areas of focus for promising practices and processes within EHDI. One of those tools is the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Patient Checklist for Pediatric Medical Home Providers. This one page document is a child specific checklist to track and monitor an infant’s:
- Hospital-based Inpatient Screening Results
- Outpatient Screening Results
- Pediatric Audiology Evaluation
- Enrollment in Early Intervention (IDEA, Part C)
- Medical Evaluations to determine etiology and identify related conditions
- Ongoing Pediatric Audiology Services
Oklahoma EHDI encourages Medical Home providers to utilize this checklist with individual patients to ensure timely follow-up through the EHDI process. For a copy of the checklist, visit https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/PEHDIC/Documents/Checklist_2010.pdf.
To learn more about the Oklahoma Newborn Hearing Screening Program or gather resources for families please send an email to NewBornScreen@health.ok.gov