$20 Million Needed for Early Hearing Detection and Intervention ASHA-in coalition with 34 other organizations representing professional, consumer, and parent organizations and manufacturers-is pushing Congress to support $20 million in funding for fiscal year 2005 for early hearing detection and intervention programs. These funds are needed to advance the growth of newborn screening programs, follow-up services, and tracking programs ... School Matters
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School Matters  |   June 01, 2004
$20 Million Needed for Early Hearing Detection and Intervention
Author Notes
  • Susan Boswell, an assistant managing editor of The ASHA Leader, can be reached at sboswell@asha.org.
    Susan Boswell, an assistant managing editor of The ASHA Leader, can be reached at sboswell@asha.org.×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Special Populations / Early Identification & Intervention / School Matters
School Matters   |   June 01, 2004
$20 Million Needed for Early Hearing Detection and Intervention
The ASHA Leader, June 2004, Vol. 9, 1-15. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM2.09112004.1
The ASHA Leader, June 2004, Vol. 9, 1-15. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM2.09112004.1
ASHA-in coalition with 34 other organizations representing professional, consumer, and parent organizations and manufacturers-is pushing Congress to support $20 million in funding for fiscal year 2005 for early hearing detection and intervention programs. These funds are needed to advance the growth of newborn screening programs, follow-up services, and tracking programs to ensure that every newborn who is screened and identified receives early intervention services critical to language development.
Newborn hearing screening has increased dramatically over the last five years, thanks to legislation sponsored by Rep. James Walsh (R-NY) that was included in the 1999 appropriations bill and the Child Health Act of 2000.
“We are very proud of the dramatic increase in newborn hearing screenings in the United States since the turn of the century-from roughly 20% in 1998 to 90% this year,” said Larry Higdon, ASHA president. “However, there is still much that needs to be done, given that only about half of those infants diagnosed with hearing loss are enrolled in an early intervention program by 6 months of age.”
“Without these federal grants, a majority of the state EHDI programs will collapse, tremendously setting back our recent gains to ensure that every American newborn child has an equal chance to reach his or her full potential.”
A state report card released by the World Council on Hearing Health (WCHH), in which ASHA is a partner, demonstrates the difference that federal funding makes in establishing strong EHDI programs. WCHH’s 2004 “Annual Hearing Healthy Kids State Report Card on Infant Hearing Screenings,” showed that:
  • Nine states were rated “exemplary” with 95%–100% of babies being screened. Less than 50% of program funding came from temporary federal grants.

  • Twenty-nine states were rated “excellent” with 94%–100% of babies being screened. Most of the program funding came from temporary federal grants.

  • Ten states were rated “good” with 80%–94% of babies being screened.

  • Three states were rated “unsatisfactory” with 80% or less of babies being screened.

While the majority of newborns now receive a hearing screening, only about half of those infants diagnosed with hearing loss are enrolled in an early intervention program by 6 months of age. To ensure that these children receive needed early intervention services, the coalition urges Congress to support the following critical health programs in the FY 2005 Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), Education Appropriations bill by:
  • Appropriating $10 million for the EHDI program of the Health Resources Services Administration to assist states in screening and follow-up services

  • Allocating $10 million for the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to assist states with the tracking, surveillance, quality assurance, and cost effectiveness in EHDI programs

  • Encouraging the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders to expand research related to EHDI

In addition to seeking Congressional support, ASHA and other representatives from coalition organizations serve on a panel of top experts in pediatric audiology as part of a groundbreaking contract awarded to the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing by the HHS Maternal and Child Health Bureau. The panelists will develop recommendations on the protocols for quality infant assessments and the skills and knowledge needed by pediatric audiologists to perform those assessments.
Visit the ASHA News Room for more information about the EHDI funding initiative.
Revised Guidelines Underway for Audiologic Assessments of Young Children

An ASHA Working Group developing revised guidelines for “Audiologic Assessment of Children From Birth Through 5 Years of Age,” to update the guidelines on “Audiologic Assessment of Children From Birth Through 36 Months of Age,” which were approved in 1991. In response to the growth of EHDI programs, these updated guidelines are intended to provide audiologists with the most current evidence-based recommendations for audiologic assessment of infants and young children.

“This updated ASHA document lays the groundwork for reaching the goals of the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing,” said Alan Diefendorf, coordinator of the working group.

Working group committee members also include: Kathryn L. Beauchaine, Robert J. Nozza, Jackson Roush, Diane L. Sabo, Anne Marie Tharpe, and Judith E. Widen. Roberta Aungst is monitoring vice president, and Pam Mason is ex officio.

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June 2004
Volume 9, Issue 11