Identify hearing loss early to access services

Le Bonheur audiologist Tracey Ambrose, AuD, CCC-A, explains why it’s important to identify hearing loss in children within the first six months of life. Early identification helps a family access the services the child needs quickly to help speech and language development.

It is well accepted within the healthcare community that any degree hearing loss has a significant impact on a child’s ability to develop language and communication skills. Research over many years has shown us that if a child is identified with hearing loss and receives proper intervention within the first six months of life, they can develop speech and language at the same rate as their hearing peers.

As a result of these facts, states have passed legislation to ensure babies receive a newborn hearing screen. Early identification is crucial to set a child with hearing loss on a path for success throughout their life.

Here are a few statistics to reinforce that:

  • 3 in every 1,000 babies are born every year with hearing loss, and an additional three children in one thousand will develop hearing loss in early childhood.
  • 90 percent of children who are deaf have hearing parents
  • 50 percent of patients with hearing loss have no risk factors so the cause is unknown

Timeline for testing:

  1. Receive a newborn hearing screen by ONE month of age
  2. Identified by THREE months of age
  3. Received appropriate intervention by SIX months of age
    This is known as 1-3-6 model

Children with hearing loss can live a happy and full life with timely support and assistance. Getting started on the road to that help as early as possible can make all the difference for your child. As a parent, having your child identified with a hearing loss it can be an overwhelming experience. Tennessee Hands and Voices is a support group for parents of children with hearing loss.

Le Bonheur will be hosting an education event sponsored by this group on Saturday, Sept. 13, 1-3:30 p.m. For information, e-mail

newborn, development, therapy