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Text Description for Infographic: 20 Years of Newborn Hearing Screenings

Did You Hear?

98% of newborns in the U.S. are screened for hearing loss before they leave the hospital.

Research improves the quality of life of people with
hearing loss, starting with the day they are born.

Biomedical discoveries supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) laid the foundation for states to take action to ensure children are screened and treated early for hearing loss. Collaborations with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Resources and Services Administration,
and other national organizations were key to success.

  • NIDCD research reveals the basic mechanisms of how we hear.
  • NIDCD research develops and improves technology for hearing devices such as hearing aids and cochlear implants.
  • NIDCD research finds genetic causes of profound hearing loss and deafness, which account for most cases.

Did You Know?

2,000 babies are born deaf or hard of hearing each year in the United States.


  • 3.8 million newborns are screened for hearing loss before they leave the hospital.
  • Early interventions and treatments (hearing aids, cochlear implants, sign language, cued speech).
  • Better speech, language, social skills, job opportunities, less need for costly state-run programs.


98% of newborns are screened annually.

President Obama signs the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act of 2010, expanding funding to include diagnostic services.


NIDCD research leads to two gold-standard tests for hearing loss in infants, which are still in use today.


NIDCD research explores intervention strategies for children with hearing loss.

President Clinton signs the Newborn and Infant Hearing Screening and Intervention Act, authorizing support for statewide screening programs.


NIDCD research demonstrates the need for both newborn hearing screening and early intervention, which is crucial for speech and language development.


The NIH convenes an expert panel, which recommends standard newborn hearing screening methods for state programs.


At an NIH consensus conference, experts endorse universal newborn hearing screening.

About 1 in 10 newborns are screened for hearing loss.

Before 1993

Only newborns at high risk are screened, which misses 50% of children who are eventually diagnosed with severe hearing loss.

Only 8% of babies with congenital hearing loss are diagnosed by their first birthday.

47% of children with congenital hearing loss are not diagnosed until their third birthday or later.


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Last Updated Date: 
November 1, 2013