Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program
What is the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Program?
EHDI refers to the process of identifying and serving infants with hearing loss. The mission of the Connecticut EHDI program is to ensure that all Connecticut-born infants receive the appropriate hearing screenings, Cytomegalovirus (CMV) screenings, diagnostic hearing evaluations, and intervention services to maximize developmental outcomes without bias towards communication modes and methods.
What are the goals of the Connecticut EHDI Program?
The EHDI program works to identify and support infants with a hearing loss by:
- Ensuring all infants receive a newborn hearing screening before hospital discharge or by 1 month of age;
- Ensuring all infants who do not pass the newborn hearing screen receive CMV testing;
- Ensuring infants who did not pass the newborn hearing screen receive an audiological evaluation by 3 months of age;
- Ensuring infants who are identified with a hearing loss are enrolled in an early intervention (EI) program, such as Birth to Three, by 6 months of age.
These goals are accomplished by: promoting communication between medical homes, hearing screening, diagnostic, and Birth to Three providers; collecting and analyzing hearing loss data; partnership building; and provider and parent educational initiatives.
What is universal newborn hearing screening?
Under Connecticut state law which took effect July, 1, 2000, all birthing facilities must provide a universal newborn hearing screening as part of its standard of care. Universal newborn hearing screening is a mandatory test to check every infant's hearing after birth, preferably before leaving the hospital. The Department of Public Health has been charged with the development of a plan to implement and operate a program of early identification of infant hearing impairment. Click here to learn more about Connecticut General Statutes, Section 19a-59
Why is universal newborn hearing screening important?
Hearing loss is more common than you think. Hearing loss is one of the most commonly occurring birth defects found in infants. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) 2016 Annual EHDI Program Data showed 1.7 babies out of every 1,000 screened had a hearing loss.
Why do infants that do not pass the universal newborn hearing screening also get tested for Cytomegalovirus (CMV)?
On January 1, 2016, Public Act Number 15-10 amended existing newborn screening requirements by mandating that infants who do not pass a newborn hearing screening also be screened for cytomegalovirus (CMV), as soon after birth as is medically appropriate. This law also requires each institution caring for newborns (e.g. birthing facilities) to report any cases of CMV to the Department of Public Health.
Why is CMV testing important?
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus that rarely causes health problems in healthy people. When CMV occurs during a woman’s pregnancy, it is possible for the unborn baby to become infected, which can potentially damage the brain, eyes, and/or inner ears of the unborn baby.