The Infant Hearing Program (IHP) provides:
- hearing screening for all newborns in community settings
- assessments to identify permanent hearing loss
- monitoring of children at risk of developing hearing loss
- language development services
- family support through specially trained social workers who help parents understand their child’s situation, provide information and resources, and assist with funding support
Kidsability works together with ErinoakKids, the lead agency for the Infant Hearing Program, in the regions of Halton, Peel, Waterloo, Guelph-Wellington, and Dufferin. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services funds the Infant Hearing Program.
All newborns receive a universal hearing screening as part of the Infant Hearing Program. This initial screening identifies infants who may need more in-depth hearing testing as early as possible. Hearing screenings are provided for infants under the age of 2 months.
Two out of 1,000 babies have hearing loss at birth, and an additional two develop hearing loss by the age of five. Early detection and intervention are critical for a child’s language and literacy development.
Screening a baby’s hearing accurately requires special training and equipment. The screen is reliable, quick and gives results right away. It measures the ear’s or brain’s response to soft sounds played in your baby’s ear and, if needed, may use small stickers placed on your baby’s head. The technology used for the hearing screen is safe and will not hurt your baby.
Risk Factor Screening:
Using the same sample collected by the hospital or midwife for the newborn blood spot screening, Newborn Screening Ontario will also complete a risk factor screening to see if your baby is at higher risk for hearing loss.
A community hearing screening appointment for your baby should be scheduled if:
- Baby is between 0 – 2 months of age (or 8 weeks corrected age if baby was born early)
- Baby did not receive a hearing screening at birth
- Hearing screening at birth indicated that they should be referred to a community newborn hearing screening clinic
- Baby was born in Ontario
- You currently live in Waterloo Region
To book a community newborn hearing screen, please contact ErinOakKids Client Services Intake Centre at 1-877-374-6625, then press ‘1’