The Nebraska Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program develops, promotes, and supports systems to ensure all newborns in Nebraska receive hearing screenings, family-centered evaluations, and early intervention as appropriate.
- Hearing loss is the most common congenital condition in newborns.
- The majority of children with hearing losses are born to hearing parents.
- In the United States, 33 babies are born every day with a hearing loss.
- There are many different types and degrees of hearing loss.
- Children as young as one month of age can be fitted with hearing aids.
- Most children with hearing loss have no other health issues.
- When a child's hearing loss is diagnosed and treated early, he or she can develop language skills like a child without a hearing loss.
- Some babies are born with normal hearing but lose their hearing when they are older.
Significant hearing loss is one of the most common birth conditions with an estimated incidence rate of one to three per thousand live births. Before newborn hearing screening, many times hearing loss was not diagnosed until 2-1/2 to 3 years of age. Left undetected, hearing loss in infants can negatively impact speech and language acquisition, academic achievement, as well as social and emotional development.
If detected early, the negative impacts can be diminished and even eliminated through early intervention. The National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM),reports that detecting and treating hearing loss at birth for one child saves $420,000 in special education costs by the time that child graduates from high school, and has a lifetime cost of approximately $1 Million per individual.
The NE-EHDI Program is located in the Newborn Screening and Genetics Program, Lifespan Health Services Unit, Division of Public Health, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
An Advisory Committee, compromised of stakeholders representing many disciplines and perspectives, has been active in providing leadership since the implementation of the Infant Hearing Act of 2000.