Early Hearing Detection & Intervention (EHDI)

UPDATE: The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act (S. 652) was signed into law on October 18, 2017.

The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program helps to establish statewide plans that identify children with hearing loss, directing them to early intervention services. This vital program includes initial screening of infants for hearing loss, audiological diagnostic evaluations to confirm hearing loss, and early intervention. At the first signs of hearing loss, it is imperative that children receive medical services, early intervention programs, and family support. This early intervention enhances language, communication, cognitive and social skill development.

At the time the Child Health Act of 2000 was passed, thereby establishing the EHDI program, only 40 percent of newborns were being screened. Yet with today’s program, approximately 96 percent of newborns receive audiologic screening – 4 million infants and children in the year 2013 alone.

Nearly 33 children are born every day with hearing impairment, making it the most common congenital condition in the United States. Failure to reauthorize EHDI would leave thousands of children with undiagnosed hearing loss. It would also deprive children from interventions that improve their language skills and development – interventions that they desperately need.

Legislative Update/Timeline:

  • March 15, 2017: The “Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act of 2017” (H.R. 1539/S.652) introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.
  • April 26, 2017: S. 652 advanced from Senate HELP Committee.
  • September 6, 2017: S. 652 passed by U.S. Senate via “unanimous consent.”
  • October 3, 2017: S. 652 passed by U.S. House of Representatives via voice vote.
  • October 18, 2017: S. 652 signed by President.

Click here to read the AAO-HNS letter to H.R. 1539 sponsors.

Click here to read the AAO-HNS letter to S. 652 sponsors.