Screening and Cost - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Screening and Cost

Hearing loss can affect a child's potential to develop speech, language, and social skills. The earlier a child who is deaf or hard of hearing starts getting services, the more likely the child's speech, language, and social skills will reach their full potential.

All newborns should be screened for hearing loss. More and more hospitals are screening babies before they go home. Universal newborn hearing screening programs have three main goals:
  • Babies should be screened before they leave the hospital or before 1 month of age.
  • If a baby does not pass the screening, he or she should get a follow-up evaluation before 3 months.
  • Babies who are deaf or hard of hearing should receive services before they are 6 months old. These services help babies develop speech, language, and social skills.

CDC's Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program funds newborn hearing screening programs in many states. These programs focus on developing surveillance and tracking systems and research projects. The EHDI Web site covers topics such as screening guidelines, state programs, and resources for parents and professionals. [Go to the EHDI Web site] [Learn about newborn hearing screening in your state]

Children should have their hearing tested again before they enter school. Adults should have their hearing tested about once every 10 years between ages 18 and 50 years. After age 50, people should have their hearing tested more often.

What is the cost or economic impact associated with hearing loss?

Many people with hearing loss need long-term services. The average lifetime cost for one person with hearing loss is estimated to be $417,000 (in 2003 dollars). This represents costs over and above those experienced by a person who does not have a disability.

It is estimated that the lifetime costs for all people with hearing loss who were born in 2000 will total $2.1 billion (in 2003 dollars). These costs include both direct and indirect costs. Direct medical costs, such as doctor visits, prescription drugs, and inpatient hospital stays, make up 6% of these costs. Direct nonmedical expenses, such as home modifications and special education, make up 30% of the costs. Indirect costs, which include the value of lost wages when a person cannot work or is limited in the amount or type of work he or she can do, make up 63% of the costs.

These estimates do not include other expenses, such as hospital outpatient visits, sign language interpreters, and family out-of-pocket expenses. The actual economic costs of hearing loss are, therefore, even higher than what is reported here.

What resources are available for people with hearing loss and their families?

CDC does not study education or treatment programs for people with hearing loss, nor does it provide direct services to people with hearing loss or to their families. However, CDC has put together a list of resources for people affected by hearing loss or other developmental conditions. [Go to the resources list]

How can we improve the health of people with hearing loss?

People with hearing loss can live healthy lives. There are many federal and federally-funded programs that help people learn to live well with hearing loss or other developmental conditions or disabilities. CDC has put together a list of some of these efforts. [Read more about health improvement programs]


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