Beth: Have you heard of the 1, 3, 6 National EHDI goals? I actually mentioned them earlier.
Jordan: Hmmmm….1,3,6? I get it! You want to screen babies before they're one month old, diagnose their hearing loss before they're 3 months old and get them into an intervention program before they're six months old. Am I right?
Beth: Yes! That's right! Very good, Jordan! All states use something called the 'early hearing detection and intervention' or EHDI. goals to identify hearing loss early and to start the intervention process so language learning can begin. It's pretty easy to remember - One -screen for hearing loss before one month of age. Three - diagnose hearing loss before three months of age and six - enroll a child in early intervention programs before six months of age.
Jordan: Pretty easy to remember - 1, 3, 6!
Beth: As you can see by the picture, hearing aids can be fit on very young infants. Let me show you a video of a parent talking about the benefits of early intervention.
Mother: Two of my children have hearing loss. Both of them did not pass the initial hearing screen that was conducted prior to us leaving the hospital. Both of my deaf children received the final diagnosis of Profound Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss at one month of age. Because it was detected early, my sons were able to be fitted with hearing aids at three months of age. And immediately we were able to start learning sign language so we could communicate with them. Ultimately we did decide to pursue a cochlear implant for our older son.
Dalton, my oldest son was implanted at one year of age and now he’s seven years old. He attends first grade at a public school and he communicates in the same ways as his hearing peers. He’s reading, writing, communicating and loving life. We’re excited to know that Brennan, my baby, has the same opportunities in life and he will flourish too - all because it was detected early on.
Were we sad when he was first diagnosed as being deaf? Of course we were. Both my husband and I can hear and we didn’t have any awareness of any other family members who had hearing loss. We were shocked to discover that this baby that looked perfect on the outside, he couldn’t hear anything. If the screener had not told us to come back for follow up screening, we may have just brushed it off and moved on – and been like “he’s fine!” Which that would have been detrimental for his future. It is very important that newborns with hearing loss are identified early so that their parents are given the opportunity to make the necessary choices for their deaf kids at a young age.