The Newborn Hearing Program at the University of Tennessee’s Center on Deafness is funded by a Health Resources and Services Administration grant under the authorization of the Tennessee Department of Health’s Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Program, also known as the Newborn Hearing Screening (NHS) Program. This project is funded under an agreement with the State of Tennessee. The Tennessee EHDI/NHS Program is housed in Nashville, Tennessee, within the Department of Women’s Health and Genetics. The University of Tennessee Center on Deafness (UT COD) is located on the campus of The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
The UT COD Newborn Hearing team develops and implements projects that further the mission of Tennessee’s EHDI/NHS Program and their national goals.
National EHDI Mission
The mission of EHDI programs is for every state and territory in the United States to have EHDI services that ensure children with hearing loss achieve communication and social skills commensurate with their cognitive abilities. To do this, it is essential that infants are screened at birth, those with hearing loss be identified early, and appropriate intervention services be initiated in a timely manner. Without early identification and intervention, children with hearing loss may experience delays in the development of language, cognitive, and social skills that may prevent success in academic and occupational achievement.
Tennessee EHDI Goals
Tennessee’s EHDI/NHS program has a set of specific program objectives that are essential in carrying out the national EHDI mission. These goals reflect the recommendations of other national organizations such as the Department of Health Resources and Services Administration: Maternal Child Health Bureau (HRSA/MCHB); National Institute of Health: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIH/NIDCD); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH); American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP); American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); and American Academy of Audiology (AAA).
- All infants should have access to hearing screening using a physiologic measure before one month of age.
- All infants who do not pass the initial hearing screen and the subsequent re-screening should have appropriate audiological and medical evaluations to confirm the presence of hearing loss before three months of age.
- All infants with confirmed permanent hearing loss should receive intervention services before six months of age. A simplified, single point of entry into an intervention system appropriate to children with hearing loss is optimal.
- The EHDI system should be family centered with infant and family rights and privacy guaranteed through informed choice, shared decision making, and parental consent. Families should have access to information about all intervention and treatment options and counseling regarding hearing loss.
- The child and family should have immediate access to high-quality technology, including hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other assistive devices when appropriate.
- All infants and children should be monitored for hearing loss in the medical home. Continued assessment of communication development should be provided by appropriate providers to all children with or without risk indicators for hearing loss.
- Appropriate interdisciplinary intervention programs for deaf and hard-of-hearing infants and their families should be provided by professionals knowledgeable about childhood hearing loss. Intervention programs should recognize and build on strengths, informed choices, traditions, and cultural beliefs of the families.
- Information systems should be used to measure outcomes and report the effectiveness of EHDI services at the community, state, and federal levels.
(Objectives as stated in 2007 Position Statement from the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing)