Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic impact on Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) programs is unknown. This research evaluated sociodemographic factors influencing adherence to EDHI diagnostic testing and the incidence of infant hearing loss during the pandemic.
Method: We evaluated EHDI adherence and incidence of hearing loss in Kentucky before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using univariate and multivariate analysis, we evaluated the association of these outcomes to sociodemographic variables.
Results: There were 71,206 births and 1,385 referred infant hearing screening tests during the study period. Infants during the pandemic had a 24% lower odds of hearing testing adherence (OR = 0.76, p = 0.05, 95%CI: 0.57–1). Hispanic infants have 45% lower odds of EHDI adherence (OR = 0.55, p = 0.03, 95%CI: 0.31–0.96) and infants of Swahili speaking families have 90% lower odds of EHDI adherence (OR = 0.10, p = 0.001, 95%CI: 0.02–0.42). Infants of mothers with a high school degree had a higher odds of adherence (OR = 1.50, p = 0.02, 95%CI: 1.06–2.17), presented earlier for testing (p = 0.003, 95%CI: -15.73– -3.32), and had a higher odds of normal hearing (OR = 1.63, p= 0.03, 95%CI: 1.06–2.51).
Conclusion: EHDI adherence is influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic and sociodemographic factors. EHDI programs are encouraged to use this data to promote timely and equitable access and use of diagnostic services.
Perez, N. Adkins, D. Schuh, M. Shinn, J. B. Travis, L. & Bush, M. L. (2023). Sociodemographic Factors influencing Pandemic-Era EHDI Use and Access. Journal of Early Hearing Detection and Intervention, 8(2), 26-33.
Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/jehdi/vol8/iss2/5