Early Hearing Detection and Intervention

Information for Healthcare Professionals


During prenatal visits, discuss the hearing screening done at birth. It is important to know that a hearing screening will likely be done before the baby leaves the hospital.

Screening and Diagnostic Evaluation Timeline

Screen by 1 month of age

Your baby's hearing can be screened soon after birth and before leaving the hospital.

In South Dakota, all of the hospitals that deliver babies on a regular basis have hearing screening equipment.

If the baby does not pass the first hearing screening, it is important that the family follow-up with a second screening, called a re-screening. The re-screening should be done before the baby is one month of age.

3 Month Diagnostic Evaluation

It is recommended that in addition to an audiologic evaluation, a medical evaluation is done to identify any possible medical conditions that may be interfering with the hearing screening results. The medical evaluation may include a medical history, physical examination, laboratory testing or consultation with other doctors.

Newborn Hearing Loss Risk Factors & Causes


> 50% of all infant hearing loss cases may be attributed to genetics

> Family history of permanent childhood hearing loss

> Syndrome commonly associated with hearing loss (account for 1/3 of genetic cases)

> Down

> Usher

> Wardenburg

> Neurofibromatosis


Exposure to an infection in-utero:

> Cytomegalovirus (CMV) - a virus from the same family as herpes. There is no immunization against CMV. It is spread in the air and in droplet form.

> Toxoplasmosis - an infection found in people, cats, birds and other animals. Most people with toxoplasmosis have no symptoms. To prevent exposure, pregnant women should avoid cat litter or dirt and should not eat uncooked meat.

> Group B Strep (GBS)

> Syphilis

> Rubella (German Measles)

> Herpes Simples Virus (HSV)

NICU stay


> Hyperbilirubinemia needing a blood transfusion

Exposure to certain medications used in high doses:

> Gentamicin


> Low birth weight - less than 1,500 grams

> Head, face and ear anomalies

Delayed-onset Hearing Loss

> Delayed-onset hearing loss is when a child passes their newborn hearing screening as an infant but develops hearing loss by the age of 3. Delayed-onset hearing loss can happen at any time to a child who was born with a risk factor like those listed above.

6 Month Early Intervention & Beyond

Provide the appropriate referrals:

It is essential that appropriate services begin as soon as possible, preferably before six months of age, so speech and language development is not delayed. These delays can negatively impact a child's social and emotional growth and academic achievement.

Beyond 6 months of age

Some babies have a hearing loss that is not present at birth. These babies develop a hearing loss as they grow. This change in hearing may result from risk factors such as a head trauma, certain illnesses, medications or genetic causes.

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