Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI)

You are here

Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI)

Aug 12 2004

Subject: Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI)

Dear Chairman:

On behalf of the member organizations of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Alliance (DIIHA), we write to express strong support for enhancing funding for the early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI) programs within the Maternal and Child Health Block Grants of the Health Resources Services Administration (URSA) and the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

DHHA, a coalition of consumer and professional organizations, advocates as a collective voice for federal public policy that can have a positive impact on the lives of those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Every day 33 babies are born in the United States with permanent hearing loss, making it one of the most frequently occurring birth defects. The impact of delayed detection and intervention can last a lifetime. When hearing loss is found early, intervention and treatment can produce dramatic improvements in child speech and language development by school age. Federal seed grants to states passed in 1999 have helped bring about significant progress in state early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI) programs. But to ensure appropriate early intervention, states need greater federal assistance to help initiate appropriate screening, follow~up services and tracking programs.

In 1998, prior to this assistance, 22% of babies were reported as having received a screening for hearing loss. This year approximately 90% of newborns will be screened for hearing loss before I month of age. Less than half of those infants diagnosed with hearing loss are enrolled in an early intervention program by 6 months of age. These results validate the need for continued federal participation to help ensure that all states and U.S. territories are given the opportunity to successfully put in place comprehensive EHDI programs so that no child is left behind.

Enhancing funding at this time will ensure that every American newborn child has an equal chance to reach his or her full potential. With these resources, DHIIA urges H1RSA to dedicate $10 million to be spent on Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) for screening and follow-up services. In addition, DIIHA urges the CDC to dedicate $10 million to be spent to assist states with the tracking, surveillance, quality assurance and cost effectiveness in EILDI programs. Finally, DH7HA urges the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NJDCD) to expand its EHDI clinical research.

While the full House of Representatives has not taken up the Labor/HHSlEducation bill for FY2005, DHHA appreciates the bill that has come out of the House Appropriations Committee for sustaining funding for uRSA’s initiative and increasing resources for the CDC’s initiative by $6.5 million. Both areas are crucial. DHHA urges the Senate to go beyond the House proposal to ensure necessary funds can be allocated to early hearing detection and intervention.

Thank you for your support of this critical issue. Please contact Patrick Cooney at (703) 769-0020 if you have questions regarding this matter.

Sincerely,

American Academy of Audiology (AAA)
American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS)
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
Auditory-Verbal International, Inc. (AVI)
Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf (CEASD)
Council of American Instructors for the Deaf (CAID)
Deafness Research Foundation (DRF)
League for the Hard of Hearing (LHH)
Media Access Group at WGBH
National Association of the Deaf (NAD)
National Court Reporters Association (NCRA)
National Cued Speech Association (NCSA)
Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID)
Self Help for Hard of Hearing People (SHH7H)
Telecommunications for the Deaf, Inc. (TDI)
World Council on Hearing Health (WCHIH)


SENT TO:

The Honorable Arlen Specter
Chairman
Labor, HITS, and Education Subcom.
Senate Appropriations Committee
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Ted Stevens
Chairman
Senate Appropriations Committee
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Robert Byrd
Ranking Member
Senate Appropriations Committee
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Tom Harkin
Ranking Member
Labor, HITS, and Education Subcom.
Senate Appropriations Committee
Washington, DC 20510