The evolution of early hearing detection and intervention programs in the United States

Semin Perinatol. 2010 Apr;34(2):170-9. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2009.12.009.


Identifying and treating children with congenital hearing loss during the first few months of life is a relatively new concept. To assist states in the development of statewide Early Hearing Detection and Intervention programs, the federal government provides grants and/or cooperative agreements to almost all states and has established "National Goals, Program Objectives and Performance Measures" to guide the development and implementation of those systems. This article reviews the history of newborn hearing screening programs in the United States, summarizes the content of legislation and regulations passed by states related to universal newborn hearing screening, and describes how well each National Goal has been addressed. Although substantial progress has been made in the percentage of infants screened for hearing loss before hospital discharge, significant improvement is needed with respect to the availability of pediatric audiologists, implementation of effective tracking and data management systems, program evaluation and quality assurance, availability of appropriate early intervention programs, and linkages with medical home providers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Continuity of Patient Care*
  • Hearing Loss / congenital*
  • Hearing Loss / diagnosis*
  • Hearing Tests / methods*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neonatal Screening / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • United States