Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program (LA EHDI)
Language is how your baby learns, and communication and language development begins at birth. Babies use sounds and movements to communicate before one year of age, regardless of their hearing level. It is important to find out your baby’s hearing level as early as possible so that you can figure out the best way to communicate and bond with your child. Children who are deaf or hard of hearing may need to learn other ways of communicating, such as sign language.
The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) process starts with a newborn hearing screening before babies leave the hospital. While newborn hearing screening can’t determine if your baby is deaf or hard of hearing, it will let you know if your baby needs more testing. If a baby requires follow-up testing after the first hearing screening, they will need to be rescreened. If they require more follow-up testing after being rescreened, they’ll be referred to an audiologist for diagnostic testing before turning 3 months of age. This test will confirm your baby’s hearing level. Babies who are diagnosed as deaf or hard of hearing will be referred to support and early intervention services as soon as possible, but no later than 6 months of age.
For Families with Babies Diagnosed as Deaf or Hard of Hearing
Early intervention is the heart of the EHDI program. If your child was recently diagnosed as deaf or hard or hearing, he or she needs to receive support and early intervention services to learn, grow, and thrive. Your baby should receive these services as soon as possible – at least before your baby is 6 months old, but earlier is better. EHDI will link you to providers that will help create an individualized plan for your family. The plan will include services and resources that will help your baby develop their language and communication skills to keep their development on track.
The partnership between parents and providers will focus on meeting the needs of everyone in your family (siblings, grandparents, etc.) so that your baby can communicate and bond with as many people as possible. The sooner a child starts early intervention, the better their language and communication skills can be. Early intervention professionals are trained in a variety of disciplines including Speech Language Pathologists (SLP), Audiologists, Deaf Educators, and Early Childhood Specialists.