Web site offers help for parents of children with hearing loss

ST. PAUL, MN–When parents suspect or find out that their child has hearing loss, they may not know where to turn. Now, thanks to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), they have a new online source of information on early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI) for infants and children.

The site <www.improveehdi.org/mn> is intended also for healthcare providers and other professionals. It explains the EHDI process and helps parents find materials to guide them through identification and intervention. It also helps them identify hearing specialists and education resources in their area. In addition, the site contains information to help link parents with family and community resources available locally.

Providers will find materials about best practices, tips to improve screening processes, supports for children with hearing loss, and training materials. Community support networks will find materials to help link families to providers, specialists, and resources.

www.improveehdi.org/mn is a joint venture of the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management, MDH’s Newborn Screening Program and Children and Youth with Special Health Needs program, and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services EHDI program. One aim of this collaborative effort is to provide a central web site for all state EHDI programs, although currently only Minnesota and Wisconsin have active www.improveehdi.org web sites.

Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Edward Ehlinger stated, “We believe that, among its benefits, this web site will enhance interstate efforts to coordinate care of ‘border babies,’ a significant issue for Minnesota and Wisconsin.”

Previously, newborn hearing screening information was split between two separate MDH web sites. The new site eliminates that source of possible confusion for parents, providers, and others seeking information about hearing screening.

Minnesota’s EHDI website, www.improveehdi.org/mn, was recently presented with the 2012 EHDI Website of the Year award at the annual EHDI Meeting in St. Louis.