FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Christopher Gensch, Communications Director
Email: [email protected]
WASHINGTON, October 19, 2017 – Today, U.S.
President Donald Trump signed the Early Hearing Detection and
Intervention (EHDI) Act of 2017 into law, which will fund continued
research and improve program development for early hearing detection and
intervention in newborns and young children with hearing loss for the
next five years.
The current bill improves critical programs that diagnose and treat
newborns and young children with hearing loss. Young children are now
included as part of early hearing detection and intervention programs.
Additional improvements include better access to medical follow-up and
intervention services when a hearing loss is diagnosed.
“Today’s passage of the EHDI bill will provide children and families
across our nation with proper access to early intervention services,”
said Gayla Guignard, chief strategy officer at the Alexander Graham Bell
Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell). “State-level
programming is important to ensure that children make it to appropriate
services and service providers, including Listening and Spoken Language
Specialists. The earlier a child receives services to address the
effects of hearing loss, the more time there is to influence positive
EHDI has allowed newborns to be screened for hearing loss before they
leave the hospital, paving the way for early identification and
intervention. Statewide programs require initial hearing tests in
infants, evaluations to identify hearing loss, and the medical services
and early intervention programs that put children on the path to develop
critical skills necessary to succeed.
“We are also extremely grateful to our members and those who worked
tirelessly to pass this legislation to ensure that every child with
hearing loss develops communication and social skills and lives a life
without limits,” said Guignard.
Since 2000, early intervention services have provided families who
have children who are deaf or hard of hearing with support and resources
to maximize their children’s abilities, while respecting family
decisions and cultures. Services are provided at the state and local
level and often can be arranged through the local school system.