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About the ECHO Initiative

a child participating in a hearing screening

The Early Childhood Hearing Outreach (ECHO) Initiative is part of the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management at Utah State University. The ECHO Initiative focuses on extending the benefit of periodic hearing screening to children 0 – 3 years of age in a variety of health and education settings. We also serve Early Head Start programs as the National Resource Center on Early Hearing Detection and Intervention.

The goal of the ECHO Initiative is to provide early childhood educators and health providers with up-to-date information on recommended Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) hearing screening practices so that children 0 – 3 years of age with hearing health needs receive appropriate services. The ECHO Initiative offers:

  • An array of resources for planning and implementing OAE screening and follow-up practices including training/instructional materials.
  • Tools for identifying a local pediatric audiologist to assist with training and technical assistance.
  • An audiologist-approved OAE screening and follow-up protocol.
  • Guidelines and resources for selecting appropriate OAE equipment.
  • Forms for documenting screening outcomes.
  • Tools for tracking follow-up activities.
  • Periodic webinars (including introductory and advanced information).
  • Monthly electronic newsletter, Probes & Tips, offering helpful tips for implementing OAE screening and follow-up practices.
  • Live presentations and training workshops at State, Regional and National Conferences
  • Individual consultation as needed.

ECHO Collaborations

Hearing screening practices are being updated and enhanced in a variety of educational and health care settings:

Early Head Start

The ECHO Initiative is providing training and technical assistance to establish model OAE screening practices in two or more Early Head Start programs within each state/territory. These programs receive support in implementing exemplary OAE screening and follow-up practices and serve as examples, leaders and consultants to other Head Start and early childhood programs in their state.

Early Intervention and Health Care Settings

The ECHO Initiative is also collaborating with Part C Early Intervention Programs and providers in public and private health care settings in the development of OAE screening and follow-up practices that can potentially serve a broad early childhood population.

The ECHO Initiative encourages all individuals and programs engaging in OAE screening to collaborate with their state’s Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) or newborn hearing screening program, local audiologists and other state and regional offices devoted to relevant interagency collaboration such as Head Start State Collaboration Offices, State Head Start Associations, Primary Care Associations, and Early Intervention Coordinating Councils.

To make contact with an ECHO Model and/or trainers in your state, please contact us and include your state and city and what your learning needs are.

The ECHO Initiative is funded in part by the Administration for Children and Families, the Office of Head Start, and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau under Grants 6 H61 MC 00006-02-02 and 90YD-0203/01 to the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management at Utah State University. In addition, we would like to recognize the many early childhood education and health care providers across the country who have contributed significantly to the success of this effort.