Based on national statistics, approximately 100 Iowa children (out of over 39,000 births per year) will be born with permanent hearing loss. Screening your baby’s hearing is very important, even if your family has no history of hearing problems. In fact, 95 percent of babies born with hearing loss are born to parents with normal hearing. Studies show that children who experience hearing loss can have delays in speech, language, cognitive development (thinking) and social and emotional development. Studies show that if identification of hearing loss does not happen until after six months of age, a child’s language skills at age 3 will be about half those of a child with normal hearing.
Given the serious ramifications of late identification of hearing loss, Iowa legislature passed a law (Iowa Code section 135.131) which requires universal hearing screening of all newborns and infants in Iowa. The law further provides that any birthing hospital, birth center, or facility, including Area Education Agencies (AEAs), as well as providers, such as physicians, audiologists or other health care professional are legally required to report the results of a hearing screen, re-screen or diagnostic assessment for any child under three years of age to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH).
The EHDI program staff assists families and providers in implementation of this law and captures information in order to increase timely referral and enrollment into early intervention, as needed. Together, we can support children in Iowa so that they may achieve the best possible outcomes.
Goals we strive to achieve
At the Iowa Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program, we work to ensure that all newborns and toddlers with hearing loss are identified as early as possible and provided with appropriate audiological, educational and medical intervention. We also support families of children with hearing loss so that they are equipped with necessary information and resources. We are dedicated to a lifelong care model, providing unbiased support to families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. The work we do is driven by the national EHDI goals (outlined below) that aim to advance EHDI systems of care.
Goal 1. All newborns will be screened for hearing loss before 1 month of age, preferably before hospital discharge.
Goal 2. All infants who screen positive will have a diagnostic audiologic evaluation before 3 months of age.
Goal 3. All infants identified with hearing loss will receive appropriate early intervention services before 6 months of age (medical, audiologic, and early intervention).
Goal 4. All infants and children with late onset or progressive hearing loss will be identified at the earliest possible time.
Goal 5. All infants with hearing loss will have a medical home as defined by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Goal 6. Every state will have an EHDI tracking and surveillance system that minimizes loss to follow-up.
Goal 7. Every state will have a system that monitors and evaluates the progress towards the EHDI goals and objectives.