By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.
As part of May is Better Hearing and Speech Awarness Month, the Michigan Dept of Health
and Human Services (MDHHS) is promoting resources available through its Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program (EHDI).
According to MDHHS, all of Michigan’s 84 birthing hospitals perform newborn hearing screens, and annually about 175 babies are identified as deaf or hard of hearing. The EHDI program assists hospitals, clinics, midwives and parents in identifying infants with hearing loss and enrollment in appropriate audiological services.
Language and speech development in infants and children helps them acquire skills that are important to literacy success, which is why hearing screens are so vital,” said Dr. Eden Wells, MDHHS chief medical executive. “Research has shown early identification of hearing loss and enrollment in intervention services may lead to significant benefits in childhood development.”
According to a statement from MDHHS, the EHDI program strives to achieve goals set by national and federal partners to improve screening, hearing loss detection and early enrollment in intervention services. These goals include:
- All newborns will be screened for hearing loss no later than 1 month of age, preferably before hospital discharge.
- All infants who screen positive for hearing loss will have a diagnostic audiologic evaluation no later than 3 months of age.
- All infants identified with hearing loss will receive appropriate early intervention services by no later than 6 months of age.
The EHDI program provides information about infant hearing screening and family support resources on its website Michigan.gov/ehdi. Two of those resources are Early On ® and Michigan Hands and Voices - Guide By Your Side™.
Early On offers early intervention services for children from birth to 3 years of age, who have developmental delays and/or disabilities, including hearing loss. The program is a collaborative of MDHHS and the Michigan Department of Education.
Guide by Your Side is a non-profit whose membership includes teachers, audiologists, interpreters and parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. The free program provides support and information, as well as the chance for parents just learning of their child's hearing loss an opportunity to connect with other parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing to help guide them, according to MDHHS.