Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI)

HRSA's Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) programs enable states, territories, families, and providers to develop complete and coordinated systems of care. The program aim to ensure that newborns, infants and young children who are deaf or hard of hearing are identified and get the care they need when they need it. Early involvement can help these children meet age-appropriate language, social, and developmental milestones.

Across the United States and its territories, we support efforts to:

  • Develop early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI) systems
  • Recruit, educate, and train staff and health care providers with current knowledge, evidence-based practices, and national EHDI system goals
  • Ensure families have access to information that is accurate, comprehensive, up-to-date, and evidence-based to allow families to make important decisions for their children in a timely manner, including decisions with respect to the full range of assistive hearing technologies and communication modalities
  • Establish and foster family-to-family and deaf and hard of hearing consumer-to-family supports that are important after a child has been identified as deaf or hard of hearing

Goals

Support the development of state and territory programs and systems of care that identify children who are deaf or hard of hearing through newborn, infant, and young child hearing screening and deliver diagnosis and appropriate early intervention to optimize language, literacy, cognitive, social, and emotional development.

Ensure that children who are deaf or hard of hearing can access services and a family-centered medical home in their communities; that they get early and continuous screening; and that families, parents and caretakers are engaged as active partners in the care of their children.

Supporting the EHDI System

HRSA supports a coordinated portfolio of programs that support state and territory health departments, departments of education, academic institutions with universal newborn hearing screening programs, and family and provider organizations to develop a system of services for children who are identified as deaf or hard of hearing and their families. We support the EHDI system with technical assistance, by fostering family engagement, supporting workforce development and training, and working with pediatricians and health care providers.

We support the following initiatives:

EHDI Program

EHDI National Technical Resource Center

Family Leadership in Language and Learning Center

Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) - Pediatric Audiology Trainees

Achievements

Before 1993, fewer than 1 in 10 newborns in the U.S. were screened for hearing loss, but now nearly all are screened. Since HRSA's Early Hearing Detection and Intervention program started, states and territories have had significant success identifying and getting services for newborns and infants with hearing loss, including:

  • 97% of all infants were screened prior to one month of age, and overall, 98.3% of all infants born in the U.S. have their hearing screened.
  • 1% of infants received audiological evaluations and a diagnosis by three months of age. Our system continues to work to increase the number of infants identified as deaf or hard of hearing at an early age.
  • 1% of infants were enrolled in early intervention services before six months of age.

In addition, we encourage grantees to develop an integrated EHDI health information system that allows communication and protected data sharing among care providers. Fewer infants are lost to follow-up or documentation as a result of our systems improvements.

While significant progress has been made, other parts of the EHDI system still need improvement. We continue to work toward our goals of screening all newborns, infants, and young children up to 3 years of age for hearing loss, increasing the number of newborns and infants that are enrolled into early intervention programs in a timely manner, and expanding family participation within the EHDI system.

Contact Us

Treeby Williamson Brown, MA
Chief, Integrated Services Branch
301-945-9661

ehdi@hrsa.gov

Government Agencies

CDC - National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
NIH - National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
ACF - Office of Early Childhood Development
Dept. of Ed - Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

Related Resources

Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children
American Academy of Pediatrics - EHDI Exit Disclaimer
Association of University Centers on Disabilities Exit Disclaimer
Joint Committee on Infant Hearing Exit Disclaimer
National Center on Hearing Assessment and Management Exit Disclaimer
Newborn Screening Clearinghouse-Baby's First Test Exit Disclaimer

EHDI Act of 2017 (PDF - 285 KB)

Date Last Reviewed:  April 2019