October 16, 2007

A revised policy statement from the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH; seven organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends that pediatricians take the lead in ensuring that all infants are screened for hearing loss by age 1 month, diagnosed with hearing loss by 3 months, and engaged in full intervention services by 6 months. Since 2000, when the JCIH first recommended that all infants be screened for hearing loss, the number of screened newborns dramatically increased from 38% to 95%.

However, almost half of the children who failed hearing screening tests did not receive appropriate, timely follow-up care. And yet medical and specialized intervention during the first year of life is needed to enhance the speech and language development of infants with hearing loss. Year 2007 Position Statement: Principles and Guidelines for Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Programs recommends that pediatric offices—typically a child’s first medical home—ensure timely screening, diagnosis, and coordinated medical and educational care for infants with hearing loss, optimally beginning at a newborn’s first office visit.

Ongoing surveillance of developmental milestones at each visit, and an objective, standardized screening of global development is recommended at ages 9 months, 18 months, and between 24 and 30 months, and/or anytime a doctor, medical professional, or parent is concerned about hearing loss.

AAA to Host Web Seminar Regarding New Policy Statement

The American Academy of Audiology (AAA) will be hosting an eAudiology Web seminar to educate audiologists about the new position. To learn more about this position statement, in particular the aspects of it that affect audiologists, participate in an upcoming eAudiology web seminar presented by Alison Grimes, “Pediatric Diagnostic and Treatment: Summary of the 2007 Joint Committee on Infant Hearing Report”.  This two-part seminar will be held live November 1 and 8, 2007 and will be available on-demand after those dates. Visit eAudiology.org to register and for more information.

SOURCE: American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Audiology