Early Hearing Loss Detection, Diagnosis & Intervention Act
The "Early Hearing Loss Detection, Diagnosis, and Intervention Act of 1997" (H.R. 2923) provided grant support to individual states to establish screening and intervention programs for newborns and infants with hearing loss. The legislation called for:
- Screening all babies born in hospitals or birthing centers for hearing loss prior to discharge.
- Screening all babies not born in hospitals within the first two months of life.
- Diagnostic audiologic testing performed in a timely manner when hearing loss is suspected.
- Linkage with a community system of early intervention for those infants diagnosed with hearing loss.
- Establishment of public policy for the early identification and intervention of newborns with hearing loss.
The benefits of early diagnosis and intervention are well documented. As of February 2005, 39 states have passed screening legislation and another 4 states have voluntary screening procedures in place. See the ASHA website for further updates.