New study shows that providing hearing amplification early on helps children’s listening and spoken language skills

Approximately, one to two of every 1,000 newborns are deaf or hard of hearing. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ Early Hearing Detection and Intervention guidelines say that newborns should be screened for hearing levels by age 1 month, diagnosed by 3 months and receive early interventions by 6 months.

The study looked at 350 children who are deaf or hard of hearing who had received a hearing aid or cochlear implant by age 3. The researchers discovered that kids who received hearing amplification between the age of 3 months or to 6 months had better listening and spoken language skills than those who had received amplification beginning at age 24 months.

Although the American Academy of Pediatrics calls for every child to receive a newborn hearing screening, not all children do. In the study, about 72% of children who had undergone a universal newborn hearing screening had started hearing amplification before 6 months of age, while that was true for only 32% of the unscreened children.

The researchers say that timely screenings and interventions for children who are deaf or hard of hearing are crucial.