Newborn Hearing Screening/Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program
Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) refers to the practice of screening every newborn for hearing loss. The screening results are either “PASS” or “REFER”. Infants not “passing” the screening receive diagnostic evaluation before three months of age and, when necessary, are enrolled in early intervention programs by six months of age.
Hearing loss is the most common congenital condition. Each year, an estimated three in 1000 infants are born in the US alone with moderate, severe, or profound hearing loss. Children with hearing loss experience delayed development in language, learning, and speech. Children that are hearing impaired should be identified as quickly as possible after birth so that appropriate services can be started and assistive listening devices can be obtained if appropriate. Newborn hearing screening checks whether your baby hears well. All eligible babies can have newborn hearing screening. The program can be initiated in birthing facilities to screen newborn. If your baby has a hearing loss, finding it early will help their language, learning and social development. Newborn hearing screening has become the expected standard of care internationally, this program have been established in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia and now available in Kenya through Phonac Hearing Centre.
The program aims to identify newborns with hearing loss early so they can access appropriate assistance as soon as possible, leading to better outcomes for these children as well as their families and society.
The core goals of EHDI are described as “1-3-6” goals which are based on international program measures:
- Babies to be screened by 1 month of age
- Audiology assessment completed by 3 months of age
- Initiation of appropriate medical and audiological services, and Early Intervention education services by 6 months of age
Dr. Muhoho PN. “Newborn screening for hearing loss using transient evoked otoacoustic emissions in Kenyatta National Hospital.” MMed ENT thesis (2005):