All newborns born in the state of Virginia are required by law to receive a newborn hearing screen prior to discharge from the hospital. In 2016, the hearing screening rate in Virginia was 99.2%. The Virginia Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Program monitors the newborn hearing screening of all babies born within the state of Virginia, as well as hearing re-screening and diagnostic records for all infants from birth to 36 months of age that reside in the state of Virginia. This information is maintained in an online database called the Virginia Infant Screening and Infant Tracking System (VISITS).
The hearing screening test is performed on all newborns shortly after birth. It is the first step in a process designed to identify children with hearing loss as early as possible, to ensure that all newborns can benefit from interventions that will help them develop to their full potential. Language development is largely dependent on hearing and begins very early in a child’s life. Re-screening a newborn prior to 1 month of age and diagnosing a hearing loss prior to 3 months of age is important in providing the child with appropriate resources in a timely manner. These resources will help children achieve their best linguistic and literacy abilities, and improve their chances for educational success.
In order to ensure appropriate and timely follow-up hearing rescreens, the Virginia EHDI program has collaborated with the Virginia Immunization Information System (VIIS), to allow the child’s Primary Care Provider (PCP) easy access to view the newborn hearing screening results. The Virginia EHDI program and VIIS are scheduling site visits and/or GoTo meetings with PCP offices to provide training and education to view the screening results and discuss recommendations for children in need of rescreening. If a child fails or misses the newborn hearing screening in the hospital, as the PCP, you can make an audiology referral to ensure the child has a hearing rescreen or diagnostic evaluation performed. For a list of preferred audiology facilities within the state of Virginia you may visit the http://EHDIPALS.org website or refer to the back of the letter you receive from the Virginia EHDI program with hearing screening results and recommendations.
If you are interested in scheduling a site visit or if you would like more information about the Virginia EHDI Program contact Kathleen Watts: Kathleen.Watts@vdh.virginia.gov or Deepali Sanghani: Deepali.Sanghani@vdh.virginia.gov via phone at 804-864-7719 or fax at 804-864-7771. Please visit the VA EHDI Program website at: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/early-hearing-detection-and-intervention/