AG Bell Responds to New York Times Article on Early Intervention

The New York Times piece on Feb. 22 titled “When Even the Starting Line Is Out of Reach,” by Nicholas Kristof poignantly highlighted the impact of untreated hearing loss on development and the role of poverty in impeding access to identification and early intervention services. The article highlights the tremendous risk of unidentified hearing loss in children. When identification of congenital and early onset hearing loss is delayed, children miss critical language development periods, and they are at risk of never catching up to their peers in terms of language development.

Johnny Weethe’s story underscores the critical need for universal newborn hearing screening, timely diagnosis of hearing loss and early intervention. Every day, there are 33 babies born with hearing loss. By the time those children reach Kindergarten, that number doubles due to late onset, acquired, or progressive hearing loss.

The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) advocates for early identification of hearing loss which is the leading sensory disability in the United States, and through the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing, supports the 2007 Position Statement: Principles and Guidelines for Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Programs. By providing resources for families and professionals through the Listening and Spoken Language Knowledge Center, AG Bell shares the goal of increasing opportunity to help all children to reach their full potential and thrive in the mainstream.


Donald M. Goldberg, Ph.D., CCC-A/SLP, FAAA, LSLS Cert. AVT
AG Bell President