Hearing Screening Families and early care and education staff cannot always tell when a child is deaf or hard of hearing. Observation alone isn’t enough. This is why implementing evidence-based hearing screening throughout early childhood is important.
Hearing helps us communicate with others and understand the world around us. However, about 2 to 3 of every 1,000 children in the United States are born deaf or hard of hearing. A child may also experience a decline in hearing ability at any time caused by illness, physical trauma, or environmental or genetic factors. It is estimated that the incidence of permanent hearing loss doubles by the time children enter school. A child may have difficulty hearing in
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one ear or both ears. The difficulty may be temporary or permanent. It may be mild or it may be a complete inability to hear spoken language and other important sounds. Any inability to hear clearly can get in the way of a child’s speech, language, social and emotional development, and school readiness. Intervention may improve social and emotional and academic achievement when children who are deaf or hard of hearing are identified early. An evidence-based hearing screening is a way to identify children who need an evaluation to determine if they are deaf or hard of hearing. Prior to discharge from the hospital, almost all newborns are screened and an evaluation is necessary for those who do not pass the screening.