Hearing loss is one of the most common birth conditions occurring in three of every 1,000 births. Hearing loss can affect a child’s ability to develop speech, language, and social skills.
Iowa Family Support Network (IFSN) ready to connect you and your family to resources to support your child’s timely hearing screens and diagnosis. Once diagnosed, IFSN can connect you with early intervention services, family support and other resources to nurture the best outcomes for your child’s growth and development.
In Iowa, newborn hearing screens are completed in the hospital shortly after birth. A hearing screen is a quick and painless test to see how well your baby hears different sounds. Your baby will either pass or not pass the screening. If your baby did not pass the hearing screen it does not mean that your baby has a hearing loss. Not all babies pass the hearing screen the first time. If your baby did not pass, an outpatient hearing screen is recommended by one month of age. An outpatient hearing screen is also recommended if there are concerns about hearing or if your child has a hearing risk factor.
If you have concerns about your child’s hearing and your child was born in the hospital and was cared for in the well baby nursery, your next step is to have an outpatient screen completed at your local Area Education Agency or hospital.
If you have concerns about your child’s hearing and your child was born in the hospital and was cared for in the Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery or NICU, your baby should return to the hospital or see a pediatric audiologist at a diagnostic audiology center near you.
If your child was born outside of a hospital a hearing screen can be completed at your local Area Education Agency, private audiologist or local hospital.
To be connected to a hearing screening provider in your area, complete the Request Services Form or contact an intake and referral specialist at 1-888-425-4371.
Iowa’s Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program provides resources for hearing screening, diagnosis, interventions, family support and resources for newborn to three year old children and their families. For more information visit Iowa’s EHDI Program website.
A diagnostic assessment is done to determine if hearing loss is present and, if so, to detail the type and degree of the hearing loss. If your newborn undergoes screening (at or close to birth and an outpatient screen) and does not pass their screens, it is recommended they receive a diagnostic assessment before three months of age. The diagnostic assessment measures the brain’s response to sound through sensors that are placed on the head. The child will need to be still and quiet, or asleep, for accurate test results. Not all audiology providers are able to provide this test for young infants. If the child is beyond three months of age or they are unable to get accurate test results, a sedated diagnostic assessment may be considered.
If the diagnostic assessment results in a diagnosis of hearing loss, you and your family will play an essential role in your child’s development. IFSN is here to connect you to information and education about your child’s hearing loss, as well as services and support to nurture their growth and development
After diagnostic testing shows that your baby has a hearing loss, or is at-risk for hearing loss, it is important that conversations begin about intervention options. Early intervention focuses on helping babies and toddlers learn skills that typically develop during the first three years of life. Hearing loss can affect a child’s development of speech and language skills. When a child has difficulty hearing, the areas of the brain used for communication may not develop appropriately. The language deficit can cause learning problems that result in reduced academic achievement. By intervening early, speech, communication and other developmental delays can be reduced or avoided.
Iowa’s early intervention system is called Early ACCESS. Early ACCESS provides services to children from birth to age three, in the home and at no cost to families. The focus of Early ACCESS is to support parents to help their children learn and grow throughout their everyday activities and routines. This means Early ACCESS service providers work with parents and other caregivers to help their children develop to their fullest potential. For more information on Early ACCESS, complete the Request Services form or contact an intake & referral specialist at 1-888-425-4371. If you want to get started with Early ACCESS, refer your child now by completing the referral form. After the referral form is filled out a service coordinator will contact you. The service coordinator will explain Early ACCESS and obtain consent for participation.
In addition to Early ACCESS there are many services that may be covered by your health insurance including audiologists, ENTs, and therapies for speech, occupational and physical goals. Speak with your child’s pediatrician to get started.
As a family who is learning about your child’s hearing loss, we know you may be feeling many emotions. You may feel unsure, overwhelmed or other emotions related to decisions you are facing ahead. What does this mean? What should I know? Where do I even start? There is so much information to learn and knowing where to start can be confusing. The Iowa Family Support Network is ready to connect you to community resources and support.
The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program provides a variety of family support for families who have a child (newborn to three) who is deaf or hard of hearing.
If you are interested in family support for your family visit the EHDI family support website or please contact the EHDI program:
There are a number of options available in regards to financial assistance and health coverage for families with children who develop hearing loss. Our staff is dedicated to connecting you to the resources that are right for you.
The first step for financial assistance for hearing aids and audiological services is to check with your health insurance provider and speak with your audiologist.