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EHDI: Early Hearing Detection & Intervention | NTRC: National Technical Resource Center

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Last Modified: 02/04/2021

EHDI Legislation Becomes Law

On October 18, 2017, President Trump signed the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Act (PL 115-71) to be administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The law amends the Public Health Service Act to reauthorizes the EHDI program until FY2022. The law directs three HHS agencies—the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH)— to continue coordinating and advancing a national program for the early identification and diagnosis of deaf or hard-of-hearing newborns and infants. In addition, the law authorizes expanding the program to include young children who are at risk of losing their hearing during childhood from infection, harmful noise exposure, or genetic causes.

The 2017 EHDI law reauthorizes HRSA to continue funding awards to states and territories to support continuous improvement of EHDI programs. These projects help to identify effective strategies to address screening, loss to follow-up diagnosis and services, referral to early intervention services, and family engagement. Grants will also be awarded to organizations to improve family-to-family support systems and to educate healthcare professionals who provide services to children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

PL 115-71 also directs CDC to continue providing funding and direct assistance to states and territories to support the development and use of state data systems to evaluate progress, guide research and policy development, and plan future activities, such as identifying where gaps in follow-up services are affecting children the most. The law also encourages EHDI research programs at NIH through projects supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). Collectively, HRSA, CDC, and NIH will enhance coordination so that the federal EHDI program continues to ensure that infants who are deaf or hard-of-hearing are identified as early as possible and receive effective and timely interventions.