INFANT HEARING PROGRAM
Every day in the United States 33 babies are born with permanent hearing loss. Approximately 2-3 out of 1,000 babies are born hard of hearing. Hearing loss is the most common birth defect in America which has motivated legislators all over the country to mandate hearing screenings for newborns. Hearing screening legislation for Maryland newborns was enacted in 2000 which established the Maryland Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program (MDEHDI).
The goals of the MD EHDI are to screen all newborns before they are one month of age, identity babies with hearing loss by 3 months of age, and initiate early intervention for those babies with hearing loss no later than 6 months of age. For children with hearing loss to have the best chance to develop normal communication skills, early intervention has to be initiated by 6 months of age. Early intervention is the key to successful language development for children with hearing loss. Early intervention cannot happen without timely hearing screening and diagnostic evaluation.