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Information For Families

Picture3 -photo Families of children who have been screened for hearing loss or who have been identified with hearing loss are also considered collaborative partners. Without the cooperation of families, the goal of early identification and intervention could never be reached. Families often ask, “What are my next steps?” as they seek services and support for their child. Here are some tips:

  •  Parents of babies who have not passed the hospital newborn hearing screen in one or both ears should notify the baby’s physician of the outcome of the test. Birthing facilities indicate these results on the discharge papers and report the results to the state, but physicians are still sometimes unaware of the results. Physicians can help parents locate a local pediatric audiologist who can conduct the re-screen or follow-up testing.
  • Parents should also expect a call from the Tennessee Early Intervention System (TEIS) phone follow-up team. Parents will be asked if their baby has gone for the recommended hearing re-screen or testing. TEIS will also provide assistance to those families who need help locating a site for a re-screen or follow-up testing.
  • Parents who are uncertain of the results of their baby’s hearing screen should call their birthing facility.
  • Parents of children whose babies have been identified with hearing loss should and have been reported to the EHDI/NHS office will receive a call from the UT Center on Deafness family outreach consultant, Susie McCamy. With the family’s consent, the consultant updates current information relating to the child’s hearing loss, decisions regarding amplification, placement in early intervention services, and choice in communication mode. This information is essential to compile state statistics related to EHDI and is used by federal grantors to determine the direction of future funding for the EHDI/NHS Program. Parents of a baby or child recently identified with hearing loss have many decisions to make. The Family Outreach Consultant can also connect parents to resources, agencies, and providers across the state that may assist parents and family members in a variety of ways.  Families with questions are welcome to contact Susie McCamy at the Center on Deafness at 865-384-9981 or smccamy@utk.edu.

Is My Baby At Risk for Hearing Loss?

Each year, more than 3,000 babies in Tennessee are reported to have a risk factor for hearing loss that develops after birth, also called late- or delayed-onset hearing loss. Babies who have late-onset hearing loss usually pass the hospital hearing screen.

The 2007 Position Statement from the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH) includes a list of risk factors for late-onset hearing loss. Some indicators marked with the section symbol (§) are of greater concern for the development of delayed-onset hearing loss. It is recommended that babies who have these risks be seen for audiologic assessment more frequently.

If your baby was reported to be at risk for late-onset hearing loss, you should expect to receive at least one letter from the state’s Newborn Hearing Screening Program. The letter will remind you to have a hearing test by an audiologist when your baby is a certain age. Your baby’s doctor should also receive this letter. The recommended schedule for hearing assessments for Tennessee babies and children with risk factors follows:

Developmental Milestones for Hearing

Some babies who pass their hearing screen at birth may later develop a hearing loss for a variety of reasons. These are things your baby should be doing if he or she has normal hearing. If you are concerned that your baby is not showing one or more of these behaviors, it is important to tell your baby’s doctor immediately.

Finding Support

Families who have a child recently identified with hearing loss often feel unsure of what step to take next. They receive recommendations from professionals of where to go for the next appointment or who to call to sign up for particular services, but many parents would like to connect with another parent who has been in their shoes and has already taken those “next steps.”
In Tennessee, Tennessee Hands and Voices is a great resource for family members to connect with other parents who have a child with hearing loss.
Families who need to locate a pediatric hearing provider in your area may refer to the following resources (state and national).

Communicating with Your Child

Life is about communication. Think about it. If your baby has difficulty communicating, how will he or she connect with people or get information? It is just as important for a baby to communicate with others as it is for an adult.
The brochure Communicating with Your Child shows some simple ways to encourage your baby to communicate.

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