Early Hearing Detection and Intervention: Parent experiences with diagnostic hearing assessment

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American Journal of Audiology





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Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate parent experiences with the infant diagnostic hearing evaluation process.

Method: This study used a cross-sectional survey design. Surveys were distributed via parent support organizations in December 2009 to parents of children with hearing loss. A total of 416 completed surveys were received from 43 states.

Results: The median age of diagnosis of hearing loss has decreased over time from 11 months of age to 2 months. For babies born between 2006 and 2009, the most frequently reported challenge to obtaining a diagnostic hearing evaluation by 3 months of age was a delay in appointment availability (36%). Just >¼ (27%) of parents reported that they did not feel comfortable in knowing what they needed to do next after talking with the audiologist at the time their child was diagnosed with hearing loss.

Conclusion: Significant progress has been made over the past 2 decades in reducing the age of hearing loss identification. However, many parents in this study experienced challenges that resulted in delays that exceeded Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (2007) recommendations of diagnosis by 3 months of age. The parent-reported experiences provide valuable information about areas that need further investigation to improve the early hearing detection and intervention process for children with hearing loss.

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