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Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI)

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Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI)

EHDI Legislation

In 2006-2007, MNCDHH was instrumental in passing legislation based on evidence-based practices that have led to infants being identified at birth for hearing loss. According to Linda Mitchell, the superintendent of Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf, "I cannot say enough about the early infant screening legislation because the impact on children is huge. Early identification and services for newly identified babies give those who are Deaf, DeafBlind, or Hard of Hearing a level playing field for language acquisition and education." The legislation is essential because it requires hearing loss screening by one month, diagnosis of hearing loss by three months, and beginning intervention services by six months. Since the implementation of the EHDI mandate in July 2007, screening for hearing loss in newborns has gone from 75% (which put Minnesota in the bottom 5 of states) to 97%, which puts us closer to the top. The Department of Health is working on the last 3% - most of these births occur in the home or rural hospitals that need help with developing new systems.

As part of EHDI, the Commission helped secure the funding for the following:

EHDI Part C Coordinator and Training

EHDI Advisory Committee

Newborn Screening Program Advisory Committees

Newborn Hearing Screening Mandate

Parent to Parent Guides

  • The Department of Health has contracted with Minnesota Hands & Voices to offer this service.
  • Every family is contacted within days of their baby's diagnosis and provided with support and unbiased information about communication, educational opportunities, and medical options.
  • Guide by Your Side is offered through Hands & Voices and is designed to provide emotional support and specialized knowledge from trained parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. In Minnesota, contact Minnesota Hands & Voices. 

Hearing Aid Loaner Bank

  • The Department of Health has signed a contract for $70,000/year with the University of Minnesota to run the Hearing Instrument Loaner Bank.
  • Loans of hearing aids provided to families with babies with hearing loss immediately upon request.
  • Every family that has requested help has received it.

Deaf Mentors

  • American Sign Language exposure by providing in-home instruction and adult role models.
  • Department of Human Services received funding for the program beginning July 1, 2007.
  • Learn more about the Deaf Mentor Project 
  • Learn more about MNCDHH's current role with Deaf Mentors via technology

EHDI Legislation influenced by MNCDHH:
Minnesota Statutes, Section 144.125
Minnesota Statutes, Section 144.966 

Chief Author: Margaret Anderson Kelliher

Minority Authors: Seifert, Kahn, Moe, Huntley, Davnie, Madore, Faust, Koenen, Wagenius, Thao, Nornes, Westrom, Erickson, Anderson, B., Tingelstad, Hackbarth, Brown, Bigham, Abeler, Bly, Welti, Gardner, Lillie, Loeffler, Fritz

Thank you to all!

EHDI Current Involvement

MNCDHH continues to be active with EHDI and has been an integral part of the EHDI workgroups while promoting language that supports all children who are deaf and hard of hearing regardless of their communication modality. The Minnesota Newborn Hearing Screening Advisory Committee has recommended knowledge and competencies for professionals working with young children who are deaf and hard of hearing and their families. Hopefully, this language that incorporates the impact of newborn infant screening will influence teacher licensure standards so all children's needs are met. Examples of competencies and knowledge include that all early intervention professionals providing services to children who are deaf/hard of hearing and their families should understand the cultural implications for young children with hearing loss and:

  • Can communicate proficiently in the chosen communication mode or modes of the family.
  • Can implement strategies to facilitate language development specific to the child and family's ongoing needs.
  • Can increase proficiency and sustain a life-long commitment to maintaining instructional language competence in auditory/oral, visual and multimodal communication.

The full document "Recommended Knowledge and Competencies for Professionals Working with Young Children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing and their Families" as recommended to the Commissioner of Health and the Commissioner of Education by Minnesota's Newborn Hearing Screening Advisory Committee can be downloaded here:

Recommended Knowledge and Competencies [58.50KB]

EHDI Outcomes

The Minnesota Department of Education is required by the federal government to show outcome data for Part C of special education (infants, toddlers, and preschool children with disabilities and their families, including young children with hearing loss).

In the following presentation, data is shared regarding the following outcomes.

The percentage that early intervention services have helped families:

  • Know their rights
  • Effectively communicate their children's needs
  • Help their children develop and learn

Percentage of children with hearing loss demonstrating the three functional child outcome goals:

  • Positive social-emotional skills (including social relationships)
  • Acquire and use knowledge and skills (including early language/communication and early literacy)
  • Use appropriate behaviors to meet needs

Additional outcome data can be found on the Minnesota Low Incidence Projects website. 


ECHO is a leader in multi-language health, safety, civic engagement and emergency readiness communication. ECHO bridges the gap for immigrants and refugees in Minnesota. Through close collaborations with health and safety experts, bilingual community leaders and talented spokespersons, ECHO crafts high quality television and radio broadcast and phone, print, web, DVD and partner relay distribution. The non-profit is designed to reduce health disparities, promote preventative care and increase access to life-saving emergency information.

MNCDHH partnered with the Minnesota Department of Health, the Minnesota Department of Education, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division and Minnesota Hands & Voices to create a one-hour video that gives information on the types of childhood hearing loss, the importance of early detection and the many resources and communication options available for children with hearing loss. The video, "Does My Child Have a Hearing Loss" can be viewed in ASL, Spanish, Hmong, Somali, and English on the ECHO website.


The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics made a Statement of Endorsement for a document that supplements recommendations made in 2007 on the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing. Guidelines for early hearing detection and intervention programs are provided to establish strong systems.

Read the Supplement to the JCIH 2007 Position Statement: Principles and Guidelines for Early Intervention After Confirmation That a Child is Deaf or Hard of Hearing.

Presentations from the Minnesota Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Summit 2011 can be found on the Minnesota Department of Health website.

In May 2011, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children - Federal Support for Developing Language and Literacy. The report included information related to the importance of EHDI and current challenges. A summary or full text can be read on the GAO website.

The National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM) and the IDEA Infant and Toddler Coordinators Association (ITCA) released a document intended to help those responsible for state Part C systems make evidence-based decisions as they develop or review eligibility criteria related to infants and toddlers who are deaf or hard of hearing. It also provides resource information to families. Towards the end, charts show how a hearing loss can impact hearing, speech & language development, and Part C eligibility considerations. View the report.

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