Permanent congenital hearing loss (PCHL) is one of the most common congenital conditions found in newborns. About two to three of every 1000 babies born will have PCHL. Based on 2016 birth rates, this means about 109 to 163 babies are born in Alberta with permanent hearing loss each year. Over half of all infants identified with PCHL are healthy and have no family history of hearing loss.
Without screening, there are no obvious signs early on to tell if an infant has hearing loss. In these cases, the average age of diagnosis is 24 months, and mild to moderate losses often go undiagnosed until school age.
The purpose of Alberta’s Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Program is to identify PCHL as early as possible and provide timely intervention to optimize language, development and overall health outcomes for infants.
The EHDI Program goals (1-3-6) are to:
Alberta’s EHDI Program is a new provincial population-based screening program administered through AHS in partnership with Alberta Health and other key stakeholders.