WASHINGTON, D.C.– Today, Congressman Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-CA) introduced H.R. 1344, the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act of 2015.
H.R. 1344 will reauthorize the federal authority for hearing tests and intervention programs for newborn babies, which were first authorized through the Newborn Infant Hearing Screening and Intervention Act of 1999.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association reports that there has been tremendous growth in the number of newborn babies screened each year. In 2000, only 40 percent of newborns were screened. That number rose to just over 86 percent in 2011. Today, the Centers for Disease Control report that the number has risen to about 97 percent of all infant children.
“The success of the program is evident, but there is more work to be done,” said Congressman Guthrie. “Early detection of hearing loss is just like the early detection of any other disease or illness – it can dramatically change the outcome of one’s prognosis. By reauthorizing these screening and intervention programs, and by shifting our focus to ensure there is less loss to follow-up, we can ensure all newborn babies are being evaluated and receiving any necessary treatment.”
“The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act is an important bill that promotes universal newborn hearing screening – a vital investment in a child’s future,” said Congresswoman Capps. “Early detection of hearing loss is critical to ensuring that children and their families get access to effective treatment programs sooner. I urge my colleagues to take up this bipartisan bill and reauthorize funding for this important program.”
The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act expires in September 2015.