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Otometrics Madsen, Aurical, Bio-logic - April 2019

Why is Early Detection of Hearing Loss Important?

Diane L. Sabo, PhD, Randi Winston Gerson, AuD, Ron Saks, David Adlin, Mona Dworsack-Dodge, AuD

May 2, 2016

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Question

Why is early hearing loss detection important, and does this concept only apply to pediatrics? 

Answer

The current hearing screening process begins with newborn screening. According to the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management, every state and territory in the United States has now established an Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program.  These programs ensure that every child born with a permanent hearing loss is identified before three months of age and provided with timely and appropriate intervention services before six months of age.  Identifying hearing loss at a very early age is important because children with hearing loss often fall behind their peers in speech and language development, cognitive skills and social skills.  If the hearing loss isn’t treated these deficits can lead to adult issues such as reduced socio-economic status, poor socialization skills, depression, etc.  Obviously, the earlier we can identify hearing loss the sooner we can begin to treat the problem and have better outcomes for that individual.

Early childhood screening is also common as not all hearing loss can be identified at birth. Screening during early childhood or beyond the newborn period is critical because hearing loss is an invisible condition. Between birth and age five, the incidence of hearing loss doubles.  Just because a newborn passed their hearing screening at birth, it is not a guarantee that a late onset and/or progressive hearing loss won’t develop. As a result, early childhood programs, such as Early Head Start, require hearing screening with all new enrollments.

When people hear the words “early detection” they think it means screening at a young age, but a hearing loss can occur at any age. It is about detecting the problem at the earliest possible time. The sooner you can detect hearing loss, the better the outcome for the person with the loss. Hearing loss can occur at any age and hearing screening plays a vital role to ensure that patients can avoid communication roadblocks and potentially have a better quality of life.

In 2011, Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging published a study describing a link between hearing loss in seniors and dementia.  They cite the need to screen adults periodically so a potential hearing loss can be identified as early as possible, and treatment can begin. The American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) recommends that adults be screened for hearing impairment at least every decade through age 50 and at 3-year intervals thereafter.

In addition, promoting screening to adults as well as children can provide new opportunities for hearing professionals to expand their service offering and generate new revenue streams. But more importantly, early detection means addressing hearing loss before it significantly impacts a person’s quality of life.

This Ask the Expert is an excerpt from an interview on this topic with the Audiology Systems dedicated hearing screening team - read the full interview here.


diane l sabo

Diane L. Sabo, PhD

Diane L. Sabo, Ph.D. is a hearing screening program manager at Audiology Systems. Prior to joining the company, has held various managerial positions at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, including that of Coordinator of the Auditory Evoked Potentials and Newborn Hearing Screening Programs and ultimately as Director of  Audiology and Speech Pathology. Most recently she has been an Associate Professor at the University of Pittsburgh and a consultant for GN Otometrics. She holds various academic appointments and has numerous publications and presentations to her credit.


randi winston gerson

Randi Winston Gerson, AuD

Randi Winston Gerson, Au.D., is a hearing screening program manager at Audiology Systems. Prior to joining the company, Randi held various program management roles supporting Arizona’s Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program. She has been in a consulting role as a technical assistance audiologist for the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM) for over 15 years.  Randi has developed various successful training programs for NCHAM with various publications and countless presentations describing those efforts. 


ron saks

Ron Saks

Ron Saks is an industry veteran with over two decades of experience in hearing care. He is focused primarily on Audiology Systems’ screening initiatives for the northeast region.  Prior to joining the company, he was the screening products manager for a distribution company in the East Coast since 1993; following a successful career in medical equipment financing and leasing. In his tenure as screening products manager, he was responsible for product training and led the implementation of the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Programs in New York. 


david adlin

David Adlin

David Adlin is the hearing screening market manager at GN Otometrics. He is an industry veteran with over 20 years of experience in hearing screening, ranging from hospital-based new born screening to school and primary care markets. He pioneered the use of otoacoustic emissions (OAE) devices beyond the field of traditional audiology, helping to generate acceptance in Head Start programs, pediatric facilities and primary care sites. This effort has resulted in a more comprehensive hearing screening paradigm in the US market today.


mona dworsack dodge

Mona Dworsack-Dodge, AuD

Director of Market Management and Audiology Services at Audiology Systems

Mona Dworsack-Dodge, AuD is the Director of Market Management and Audiology Services at Audiology Systems. Prior to joining the North America team, she was a Senior Audiologist at Otometrics’ global headquarters in Denmark, where she provided clinical input to and validation of product development. Prior to her tenure at Otometrics, Dr. Dworsack served as Coordinator of Electrophysiology and Director of the Newborn Hearing Screening Program at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center. Dr. Dworsack- Dodge holds a doctor of audiology degree from the University of Florida and a master of science degree in communication disorders, from Arizona State University. Active in the professional community, she recently served as a committee member for the American Academy of Audiology’s Audiologic Guidelines for the Assessment of Hearing in Infants and Young Children, released in August 2012.


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