It is important to determine whether a baby has hearing loss as soon as possible so parents and health care providers can provide the best possible resources for language and communication development. Florida’s Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Program is committed to providing parents with relevant and helpful information before and after diagnosis. Explore the links below to get more information and resources on newborn hearing screenings and what to do if your baby is diagnosed with hearing loss.
Diagnosis & Intervention
All children deserve the best chance for reaching their full potential. To help achieve this outcome for children diagnosed with hearing loss, Florida EHDI staff will provide parents with educational resources and materials, and referrals to early intervention programs such as the Florida Early Steps Program. Early Steps offers intervention services, hearing aids, speech therapy, and other types of support.
The objective of the EHDI Program is to encourage early diagnosis of hearing loss and provide the opportunity for early intervention. Florida follows the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH), 2019 guidelines for:
- Hearing screening by 1 month of age;
- Hearing loss diagnosed by 3 months of age; and
- Early intervention by 6 months of age.
Hospitals and audiology practices providing inpatient and outpatient hearing screens are an essential part of the Florida EHDI team. This page provides easy access to the eReports system in order to report screening and diagnostic results, and it makes relevant resources available to medical professionals around the state.
Florida Statutes requires hearing screenings of all newborns, unless a parent objects. Florida EHDI staff tracks all newborns who do not pass their initial hearing test and, if needed, facilitates rescreening and diagnostic testing. All related data are reported annually to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A Florida Parent’s Guide to Hearing
After diagnosis is confirmed, EHDI staff will send parents a copy of A Florida Parent’s Guide to Hearing. It is also available to download in English or Spanish. Request free copies by submitting a request form.
Each section of the Parent Guide offers information and resources for every step in your child’s journey, including information on:
- How to understand and address your emotions, fears, and concerns;
- The types, degrees, and causes of hearing loss;
- Hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other hearing technologies;
- The professionals who may be part of your child’s intervention team;
- The wide variety of communication options available to your family;
- Laws supporting your child’s education; and
- How to become an advocate for your child
The Florida Newborn Hearing Screening/EHDI Program has partnered with the Parent Infant Program, an outreach program of The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, to provide expanded services for families with infants and toddlers who are newly diagnosed as Deaf or Hard of Hearing.
These services include:
- Parent-to-Parent Support through the Parent Empowerment Program initiative.
- Parent support is provided by Parent Leaders who themselves are parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing and are specially trained to help parents navigate the emotions, the questions, and the logistics of parenting a deaf or hard of hearing child.
- Deaf Mentor Program
- This program pairs families that have questions about deafness with deaf adults from varying communication modalities and backgrounds.
- Families are provided the opportunity to meet with a deaf adult and ask questions without fear of judgement.
- Opportunities to explore Deafness as a culture and American Sign Language are available.
- Regional Learning Communities
- Groups are being formed around the state with stakeholders of the EHDI Program: parents, pediatric health care professionals from various organizations, clinicians, care coordinators, early intervention professionals, and education professionals. The purpose is to increase the knowledge and engagement of pediatric health care professionals and families as well as to identify regional gaps and barriers for infants and toddlers who are deaf or hard of hearing. Together we will work towards closing gaps and improving access to services that address early access to communication and language.
Explore these additional resources for in-depth information about hearing screening and why it’s so important
- American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) – Provides causes of hearing loss in children.
- My Baby’s Hearing was created to answer parents’ questions about infant hearing screening and follow up testing, steps to take after diagnosis of hearing loss, hearing loss & hearing aids, language and speech, and parenting issues.
- EHDI-PALS a national web-based directory of facilities that offer pediatric audiology services to young children who are younger than five years of age.
- National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM) – Serves as the national resource center for the implementation and improvement of comprehensive and effective EHDI systems. As a multidisciplinary center, the goal is to ensure that all infants and toddlers with hearing loss are identified as early as possible and provided with timely and appropriate audiological, educational, and medical intervention.
- Hands and Voices – This site was created for families to access unbiased information, resources, and connections as they embark or continue the journey with their child.
Explore these additional resources for in-depth information about hearing loss and support for families of infants and toddlers who are deaf and hard of hearing
- Early Steps Regional Office Contact List
- Florida Deaf and Hard of Hearing Resource Directory
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Free Materials on Hearing: Brochures, posters, fact sheets, and more for parents, health care providers, and public health professionals
- Hearing Loss in Children: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) resource website for pediatric hearing loss.
- Florida Kidcare: Comprehensive child-centered health and dental insurance for children ages 0-18.