Hearing loss is the most common birth defect, occurring in three in every 1,000 children. Through it's Early Hearing Detection and Early Intervention (EHDI) Program, the Office for Children with Special Health Care Needs manages the state Newborn Hearing Screening Program which ensures all newborns receive a hearing screening before leaving the hospital. Newborn hearing screening is the first step in identifying infants with hearing loss and prescribing follow-up care.
Why Does My Baby Need a Hearing Screening?
The CDC suggests babies begin to learn language skills by listening to and interacting with those around them at birth. If babies miss these chances, their language development can be delayed. Many times, children’s hearing loss is not obvious and can go unnoticed for months or even years. Children may have a risk factor that can cause hearing loss at a later age.
Hearing screening at birth can determine if your baby may have a hearing loss and if more tests are needed. An early diagnosis is essential to help babies who are deaf or hard of hearing reach their full potential, and allows families to make decisions about the intervention services that are best for their baby’s needs. Early diagnosis of hearing loss and beginning intervention helps to keep children’s development on track and improve their future language and social development."For ALL Kentucky Babies"
Racial Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Access
The goal of Kentucky’s Newborn Hearing Screening program is to identify congenital hearing loss in children by three months of age and enroll them in appropriate early intervention by six months of age. Kentucky hospitals currently screen 98 percent of newborns before they leave the hospital.
1. All infants should have access to hearing screening at no later than 1 month of age.
2. All infants who do not pass the first and second hearing screening should have appropriate screenings to confirm the presence of hearing loss at no later than 3 months of age.
3. All infants with confirmed permanent hearing loss should receive early intervention services as soon as possible after diagnosis but at no later than 6 moths of age. A referral to Kentucky's Early Intervention Program is ideal.
Health Equity Statement
Kentucky EHDI believes in the fair standard of treatment for all, no matter what people look like, what their abilities are, what they believe, where they live within the state, who they choose to be, how they choose to live and love, how they communicate, how they learn, or what their household's income is. Read more.
The Health Resource and Service Administration (HRSA) defines health equity as: "...the consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved communities that have been denied such treatment, such as Black, Latino, Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other persons of color; members of religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality.”
Kentucky EHDI would like to acknowledge the original inhabitants of this land, which is now known as the Commonwealth of Kentucky; they are the Shawnee and Eastern Band Cherokee peoples (KFTC, 2022).