Congenital or acquired hearing loss in children has been linked with lifelong deficits in speech and language acquisition, poor academic performance, personal-social maladjustments, and emotional difficulties. Identification of hearing loss through neonatal hearing screening, regular surveillance of developmental milestones, auditory skills, parental concerns, and middle-ear status and objective hearing screening of all infants and children at critical developmental stages can prevent or reduce many of these adverse consequences. This report promotes a proactive, consistent, and explicit process for the early identification of children with hearing loss in the medical home.
- Every child with 1 or more risk factors on the hearing risk assessment should have ongoing developmentally appropriate hearing screening and at least 1 diagnostic audiology assessment by 24 to 30 months of age.
- Periodic objective hearing screening of all children should be performed according to the recommendations for preventive periodic health care.1
- Any parental concern about hearing loss should be taken seriously and requires objective hearing screening of the patient.
- All providers of pediatric health care should be proficient with pneumatic otoscopy and tympanometry. However, it is important to remember that these methods do not assess hearing.