Early Hearing Detection and Intervention

Information for Parents and Families

Learning about Hearing Loss -- A Roadmap for Families

  • 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. The screening does not hurt, it takes only minutes to screen each ear and the results are immediate. Most babies sleep through the screening. The screening does not confirm a definite hearing loss - rather it determines how the baby is hearing at that time and identifies it further diagnostic evaluations are needed.
    • If your baby does not pass the first hearing screening, it is important to follow-up with a second screening, called a re-screening. The re-screening should be done before your baby is one month of age. This will ensure that there is not a delay in any further evaluations that may be needed.
  • Diagnostic evaluation by 3 months of age
    • An audiologist determines if a baby has a definite hearing loss. These health care professionals have the background and the appropriate equipment to detect a permanent hearing loss.
    • Newborn Hearing Loss Risk Factors and Causes
      • Genetic - 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)
      • Environmental
        • Contact with certain infections while the mother is pregnant
        • Admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
      • Physiological
        • Extreme jaundice
        • Contact with certain types of medications
      • Physical
        • Low birth weight
        • Head, face and ear irregularities
    • 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.
  • Early intervention by 6 months of age
    • If your baby is found to have a hearing loss you will be referred to professionals that will provide information on services your child may receive.
  • 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.
    • Track your child’s language growth . If you are concerned contact your child’s health care provider or educator.

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