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Welcome to the Connecticut Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program:

The Connecticut EHDI program strives to ensure that all babies receive the appropriate  hearing screenings at birth and babies who are identified as having a hearing loss are enrolled into an Early Intervention program.
More Common than you think - Hearing loss is one of the most commonly occurring birth defects found in infants. A 2009 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study showed that 1.4 babies out of 1000 screened had a hearing loss; therefore, early hearing detection and intervention is extremely important in identifying and managing hearing loss.
Effect on Child's Ability to Speak and Learn - According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA), "Hearing is critical for the development of speech, language, communication skills, and learning. The earlier that hearing loss occurs in a child's life, the more serious is the effect on the child's development. Similarly, the earlier the hearing loss is identified and intervention begun, the more likely it is that the delays in speech and language development will be diminished. Recent research indicates that children identified with hearing loss who begin services before 6 months old develop language (spoken or signed) on a par with their hearing peers."
The Connecticut EHDI program strives to ensure that all babies are screened at birth, and that those with a hearing loss are diagnosed soon after being born are enrolled in an Early Intervention program - a generic term used to describe the services and their providers available to parents of children with hearing loss. Parents may seek out their own early intervention programs or may access them through the Connecticut Birth to Three Program, which assists and strengthens the capacity of families to meet the developmental and health-related needs of infants and toddlers who have delays or disabilities. 
On the following pages, you will find information for both parents, of children that are deaf or hard of hearing, and medical providers. 
To access information specific to parents, please click: Parents. {Mother & Baby}
To access information for audiologists, Birth to Three, or Medical Home providers, please click: Providers.
To access other EHDI pages, you'll find a navigation panel labeled "Go to" at the top of each page.
About Connecticut EHDI: 
   In the late 1990’s, Connecticut passed legislation requiring all birth facilities to implement a "universal newborn hearing screening program". Under the law, which took effect July 1, 2000, the universal newborn hearing screening program requires all infants born in Connecticut be screened for hearing loss; unless the parent refuses due to religious tenets or beliefs. The goal of this program is to provide early hearing detection and intervention to all Connecticut newborns in an effort to prevent speech, language and other developmental delays, and to support children in reaching their maximum potential. The Connecticut EHDI program was later created to promote and oversee the newly legislated universal newborn hearing screening program.
Specifically, the EHDI program works to improve developmental outcomes for infants identified with hearing loss by:
  • Ensuring all Connecticut newborns are screened for hearing loss before hospital discharge or by 1 month of age.
  • Ensuring audiological follow-up evaluations are performed by 3 months of age for infants whose earlier hearing screenings indicated a potential hearing loss.
  • Ensuring infants diagnosed with a hearing loss are enrolled in an early intervention (EI) program by 6 months of age, when appropriate.
  • Promoting communication between medical home and hearing screening and diagnostic providers
  • Collecting and analyzing hearing loss data.
  • Ensuring the prompt enrollment in Early Intervention programs.
  • Partnership building.
  • Provider and parent educational initiatives. 
National EHDI goals:
  • Infants receive the appropriate hearing screenings at birth, or by one month of age.
  • Infants, who do not pass the hearing screenings, receive a diagnostic follow-up test within three months.
  • Infants, who are diagnosed with a hearing loss, are referred to early intervention by six months.

Connecticut Legislation:

   Connecticut General Statutes, Section 19a-59: 

      Program to identify newborn infants at high risk for hearing impairments.

(a) Each institution, as defined in section 19a-490, that provides childbirth service shall, not later than July 1, 2000, include a universal newborn hearing screening program as part of its standard of care and shall establish a mechanism for compliance review. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to any infant whose responsible party objects to hearing screening as being in conflict with their religious tenets and practice.

(b) The Department of Public Health shall establish a plan to implement and operate a program of early identification of infant hearing impairment. The purpose of such plan shall be to: (1) identify infants at high risk of having hearing impairments; (2) notify responsible party of such infants of the risk; (3) inform responsible party of resources available to them for further testing and treatment, including rehabilitation services for such infants, and (4) inform responsible party of financial assistance available through the Department of Public Health, including, but not limited to, parental eligibility criteria, which may result in reduced cost or no cost to responsible party for testing, evaluation or treatment, including rehabilitation of such infants. The DPH shall develop such plan in consultation with persons including, but not limited to, pediatricians, otolaryngologists, audiologists, educators and responsible party of deaf and hearing-impaired children.

The Commissioner of Public Health shall adopt regulations, in accordance with Chapter 54, to implement the provisions of subsection (a) of this section.

 Quick references:
  • "A Parent's Guide to Diagnostic Hearing Testing of Infants":  English or Español 
  • "Listen Up!":   English or Español
  • "Guidelines for Infant Hearing Screening" - A resource for birthing facilities: PDF

Content Last Modified on 6/9/2015 10:21:32 AM