JCIH Issues Updated Guidelines for Infant Hearing Intervention

Washington, DC—A revised policy statement from the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH; seven organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends that pediatricians take the lead in ensuring that all infants are screened for hearing loss by age 1 month, diagnosed with hearing loss by 3 months, and engaged in full intervention services by 6 months.

Since 2000, when the JCIH first recommended that all infants be screened for hearing loss, the number of screened newborns dramatically increased from 38% to 95%. However, almost half of the children who failed hearing screening tests did not receive appropriate, timely follow-up care.

Year 2007 Position Statement: Principles and Guidelines for Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Programs, published in the October edition of Pediatrics, recommends that pediatric offices—typically a child’s first medical home—ensure timely screening, diagnosis, and coordinated medical and educational care for infants with hearing loss, optimally beginning at a newborn’s first office visit. The new document spells out protocols and recommendations concerning:

  • Identifying hearing abnormalities in newborns, with separate protocols for those in well baby care and neonatal intensive care;
  • Follow-up medical evaluations;
  • Early intervention services from experts in hearing, speech, and communication;
  • Hearing checks by pediatricians at 9, 18, 24, and 30 months;
  • Parent education and counseling that is well-timed and individually tailored;
  • Data tracking systems at the state level that support the development of evidence-based public health policies and programs for all children, no matter their geography, socioeconomic status, or ethnicity.

The position statement has received applause from both the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) and the American Speech Language Hearing Association, and both of these organizations are holding seminars to update their membership on the new guidelines.

IHS Makes for “A Sound Bet” in Reno

Livonia, Mich—With the theme, A Sound Bet, the International Hearing Society (IHS) held its 56th Annual Convention and Expo in Reno, Nev, during the last week of September. The convention was highlighted by an educational program that included several sessions on open fittings and advanced hearing instrument features, a convention floor with over 50 exhibitors, and many events for attendees.

At the annual membership meeting, IHS President James Ogurek, BC-HIS, said that 420 new members joined the society during the last year, and IHS has continued work on open-access issues on the state and federal levels. IHS Legislative Counsel Tim Waters presented his 33-year perspective on the often-contentious battles between and within the hearing health care disciplines.

Past Presidents Raymond Rich (left) and Floyd Loupot (right) with IHS Executive Director Cindy Helms. Herbert Knapp was presented with a special award from IHS President James Ogurek. Knapp started his career at his father’s dispensing office in Grand Rapids, Mich, in 1948, and has attended all 56 annual IHS conventions.
Denny Dingler (left) receives The Hearing Review Professional Leadership Award from HR Editor-in-Chief Karl Strom. Larry Ferris (left) receives The Hearing Journal’s Joel S. Wernick Award for Excellence from HJ Publisher Jerry Laux.

During the convention, Denson (Denny) Dingler III, BC-HIS, ACA, was presented with The Hearing Review Professional Leadership Award. Dingler, who has run a dispensing office in Inverness, Fla, since 1984, has served on the board of the International Institute of Hearing Instruments Studies (IIHIS) and has been the chairman of the IIHIS Licensing Exam Writers Committee, as well as served as the director of the Florida Hearing Society.

The Hearing Journal’s Joel S. Wernick Award for Excellence was presented to Larry Ferris, BC-HIS, San Antonio, Tex. Ferris is secretary of IHS, governor of its Southwest Territory, has been a leader of the Texas Hearing Aid Association, and has been an exemplary dispenser for 27 years.