JEHDI 2019 Position Statement
Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) activities beginning at the birth hearing screening and culminating in early intervention, have positively impacted outcomes for children who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families in the United States and world-wide. Universal newborn hearing screening has resulted in significantly lowering the average age of identification. Screening is a necessary first step, but does not ensure the next critical steps of timely identification and diagnosis of children who are deaf or hard of hearing, amplification, and referral to early intervention, all with the goal of promoting language development.
The goal of EHDI is to assure that all infants are identified as early as possible, and appropriate intervention initiated, no later than 3-6 months of age. There is a body of literature which demonstrates that children and families experience optimal outcomes when these benchmarks are met. Additionally, communication and linguistic competence (in spoken language, signed language, or both) are achievable when timelines are met, and when optimal audiologic and early intervention services are accessible. There remain critical areas of improvement within the EHDI system to ensure newborns benefit from early recognition and have access to appropriate supports.
This current 2019 document builds on prior Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH) publications (2013 JCIH supplement on Early Intervention and 2007 JCIH Guidelines), updating best practices through literature reviews and expert consensus opinion on screening; identification; and audiological, medical, and educational management of infants and young children and their families.