MMWR: Newborn Screening for Hearing Loss and Critical Congenital Heart Disease

On August 25, 2017, the CDC published a report in the Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, re-releasing information from CDC’s September 2016 Public Health Grand Rounds forum. This report highlights the benefits of and gaps in assessing point-of-care newborn screening for hearing loss and critical congenital heart disease (CCHD).

Hearing Loss: The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program – a federally-supported state program – screens almost all newborns for hearing loss and provides timely diagnosis and intervention services for a majority of newborns with hearing loss. Timely intervention services are essential for language development and yield long-term economic benefits.
Critical Congenital Heart Disease: Unlike the EHDI program, CCHD screening is not a federally-funded state program. While some states have made significant strides in screening newborns for CCHD and providing timely intervention services, insufficient data systems limit their ability to measure success and to identify opportunities for improvement. Lessons learned from EHDI could help address gaps in screening for CCHD and other conditions.

“Newborn screening at birth is crucial to quickly identify infants at risk of hearing loss and congenital heart disease so they can receive early intervention and follow-up care,” said CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D.  “Finding these conditions early can give infants the best chance to properly develop and lead healthy lives.

CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities advances the health and well-being of our nation’s most vulnerable, including those with CCHD and hearing loss. You can read more about our efforts to identify children with hearing loss and CCHD and to understand their needs as they grow into adults.

(source: Scott Grosse, PhD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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