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First Sound Program

Facts About Newborn Hearing Loss

  • Hearing loss occurs in newborn infants more frequently than any other health condition for which newborn infant screening is required.
  • The Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, the American Academy of Audiology, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Directors of Speech and Hearing Programs in State Health and Welfare Agencies) endorses the goal of universal detection of hearing loss in infants before three months of age, with appropriate intervention no later than six months of age.
  • Eighty percent of the language ability of a child is established by the age of 18 months; hearing is vitally important to the healthy development of language skills.
  • Early detection of hearing loss in a child and early intervention and treatment has been demonstrated to be highly effective in facilitating a child's healthy development in a manner consistent with the child's age and cognitive ability.
  • Children with hearing loss who do not receive early intervention and treatment may require extensive special education services. These services are publicly funded for the vast majority of children with hearing needs in the state.
  • Appropriate testing and identification of newborn infants with hearing loss will facilitate early intervention and treatment and will therefore serve the public purposes of promoting the healthy development of children and reducing public expenditure.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics; the American Speech-Language Hearing Association; the American Academy of Audiology; and the American Academy of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery have all endorsed the implementation of universal newborn hearing screening and recommended that such screening be performed in all birthing hospitals and coordinated by state departments of health.