President Signs Bill to Promote Early Hearing Detection in Newborns, Infants & Young Children

Senators are announcing that President Donald Trump has signed their bipartisan Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act, into law.

The law reauthorizes current research and improve public health programs for early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of hearing loss in newborns, infants, and young children.

 “Early hearing detection is critical because children with hearing loss often fall behind their peers in speech development, cognitive skills, and social skills,” said Senator Rob Portman. “This measure represents an important step towards improving early hearing detection and intervention for newborns, infants, and young children, and I’m pleased that President Trump has signed this legislation into law.”

I’m happy to see the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act has been signed into law. It will improve the way we can detect, diagnose, and address hearing loss in kids. I also want to thank Senator Portman for his work with me on this bipartisan bill that will make a difference in Virginia, Ohio, and across the country,” said Senator Tim Kaine.

The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act reauthorizes current research and public health activities related to early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of hearing loss in newborns and infants. In addition, to ensure the continued success of existing early hearing detection and intervention programs, the bill makes a number of key improvements. Specifically, this bill expands early hearing detection and intervention programs to include young children, improves access to appropriate follow-up and intervention services when hearing loss is identified, and clarifies the roles of the Centers for Disease Control and the Health Resources and Services Administration.  Specifically, this legislation:

·       Authorizes development of programs for hearing screening of newborns, infants, and young children;

·       Authorizes prompt evaluation and diagnosis of children referred from screening programs;

·       Provides for educational, audiological, and medical interventions for children confirmed to be deaf or hard-of-hearing;

·       Allows education and medical models to ensure that newborns, infants, and young children who are identified through hearing screening receive follow up by qualified early intervention providers, qualified health care providers, or pediatric medical homes; and

·       Continues research and development for early hearing detection and intervention, including development of technologies and clinical studies of screening methods.

A wide variety of groups support the bill, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the American Cochlear Implant Alliance, the American Academy of Audiology, the Academy of Doctors of Audiology, Hands and Voices, Schools for the Deaf, the American Academy of Otolaryngology, and AG Bell.

Michaela Madison Reporting

(Press Release issued by Senator Portman’s office)

(Photo courtesy of the Ohio Department of Health)

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