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Notice to Readers: Better Hearing and Speech Month --- May 2009

Hearing loss occurs in as many as three of 1,000 live births annually (1,2). Without intervention at an early age, hearing loss can delay a person's speech, language, and social skills development, and academic achievement. Because of this, all infants should be screened for hearing loss no later than age 1 month, preferably before leaving the birth hospital. All states and territories now offer hearing screening for newborn babies. Any baby who does not pass the hearing screening should have a full hearing evaluation no later than age 3 months. Any child who has a confirmed hearing loss should be referred for needed medical tests and should begin intervention services no later than age 6 months (3). Following this 1-3-6 months plan can maximize communication and language development for affected children (4,5). Additional information is available at http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/ehdi. Educational materials on newborn and infant hearing are available free at http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/ehdi/edmaterials.htm.

References

  1. Finitzo T, Albright K, O'Neal J. The newborn with hearing loss: detection in the nursery. Pediatrics 1998;102:1452--60.
  2. Van Naarden K, Decouflé P, Caldwell K. Prevalence and characteristics of children with serious hearing impairment in metropolitan Atlanta, 1991--1993. Pediatrics 1999;103:570--5.
  3. Joint Committee on Infant Hearing. Year 2007 position statement: principles and guidelines for early hearing detection and intervention programs. Pediatrics 2007;120: 898--921.
  4. Kennedy C, McCann D, Campbell MJ, Kimm L, Thornton R. Universal newborn screening for permanent childhood hearing impairment: an 8-year follow-up of a controlled trial. Lancet 2005;366:660--2.
  5. Moeller MP. Early intervention and language development in children who are deaf and hard of hearing. Pediatrics 2000;106:e43. Available at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/106/3/e43.

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Date last reviewed: 5/14/2009

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