Published: August 31, 2015

Hearing health community seeks EHDI reauthorization

It was an exciting spring. The physician community saw major legislative victories relating to repeal of the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, as well as rescission of a proposed policy change for global surgical payments. After such a windfall, many Members of Congress and staffers were posing the question, “Well, what’s next?” For the AAO-HNS and others in the hearing health community, the answer was simple: (hopefully) teeing up another legislative “win” for the fall.

It was an exciting spring. The physician community saw major legislative victories relating to repeal of the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, as well as rescission of a proposed policy change for global surgical payments. After such a windfall, many Members of Congress and staffers were posing the question, “Well, what’s next?” For the AAO-HNS and others in the hearing health community, the answer was simple: (hopefully) teeing up another legislative “win” for the fall.

For the last several months, the AAO-HNS Legislative Advocacy staff has been working with others in the hearing health community to secure reauthorization of the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program. As many AAO-HNS Members are aware, the EHDI program helps to establish statewide plans that identify children with hearing loss and subsequently direct them to early intervention services. This vital program includes initial screening of infants for hearing loss, audiological diagnostic evaluations to confirm hearing loss, and early intervention.

Hearing loss continues to be one of the most common birth defects in America, with 1.4 babies per 1,000 screened in the United States identified as deaf or hard of hearing. Since the inception of the EHDI program in 2000, it has become clear that early detection and intervention programs provide children and infants who face a range of hearing deficiencies with a better chance of developing language, communication, cognitive, and social development skills along with their peers.

There is also a clear economic benefit associated with hearing-related early intervention services. According to a 2014 article published by the department of pediatrics at the University of California San Francisco, a child with untreated hearing loss has estimated direct educational costs of $400,000, with an additional $1 million in lifetime societal costs due to lost productivity. Given that approximately 10,000 children in the United States are born with congenital hearing loss every year, the estimated lifetime economic cost approaches $10 billion, which is on par with the most common childhood medical disorders, such as asthma.

However, the promising statistics relating to the EHDI program underscore the importance of infant screening. In 2000, only about 40 percent of all newborns in the United States were screened. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now reports EHDI federal grants have resulted in approximately 97 percent of infants being screened for hearing loss within the first month of life, and if necessary, referred for applicable intervention services.

Given the success and importance of the EHDI program, the hearing health community (including the AAO-HNS) worked in earnest during the first part of the year to identify a Member of Congress to spearhead the reauthorization effort in the 114th Congress. As a result, on March 10, 2015, U.S. Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY-2) and Lois Capps (D-CA-24) introduced H.R. 1344, the “Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act of 2015.” Since then, the hearing health community has enacted a multifaceted approach for generating additional support for EHDI reauthorization. Through direct lobbying, letter writing, grassroots activation, and combined efforts from the Friends of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus, Members of Congress have become more aware of the importance of the EHDI program. And, Congressional leaders have signaled their support for advancing the bill in the coming months.

Following a positive reception for the bill at a June hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health, H.R. 1344 received favorable remarks during its official “mark up.” Because the bill has been marked up and advanced by the Energy and Commerce Committee, it can be considered for passage on the House floor and delivered to the U.S. Senate, likely in early fall.

Despite the positive outlook for H.R. 1344, the hearing health community remains diligent in its efforts, and will continue to seek additional support for the bill. Want to help? AAO-HNS Members are encouraged to contact their elected officials. A pre-written AAO-HNS Legislative Action Alert is available at, but Members can also prepare their own remarks to be sent via their U.S. Representatives’ individual websites. Together, we can ensure the EHDI program receives timely reauthorization.

For more information regarding the AAO-HNS efforts on EHDI and other legislative priorities, contact


More from September 2015 - Vol. 34 No. 08

Products from the new AcademyU® Learning Platform
Foundation copublishes two books with Thieme As part of an ongoing agreement with Thieme Publishers, the Foundation has just added two more titles to its book and eBook collection. The first book, Otolaryngology Lifelong Learning Manual (OLLM), is an update to the Maintenance Manual for Lifelong Learning. Through the hard work of the eight education committees, under the leadership of Education Coordinator Sonya Malekzadeh, MD, this will become a valuable resource for all otolaryngology clinicians. OLLM serves as a great resident resource and certification study guide. Practicing physicians can use it for a refresher on a topic and for recertification through MOC. Nonphysician clinicians will also benefit from the comprehensive scope of the book. The second book, Geriatric Otolaryngology, was edited by Robert T. Sataloff, MD, Michael M. Johns III, MD, and Karen Kost, MD. This book is much more than a revision to the previous book of the same title. It is a comprehensive and timely discussion of the otolaryngology concerns of the elderly population. Both books are available in print and eBook formats and can be ordered through the Thieme website at You can search by specialty or title. The AAO-HNS Foundation is proud to have worked with Thieme on these two essential otolaryngology publications and looks forward to continuing its copublishing partnership. AcademyQ® CME: otolaryngology knowledge self-assessment tool AcademyQ® CME offers learners the opportunity to hone their knowledge skills through a series of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery-specific self-assessment questions. Derived from the 800 knowledge assessment questions available in the AcademyQ® app for Apple and Android, this activity provides the opportunity to enhance knowledge of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery with hundreds of study questions to test recall, interpretation, and problem-solving skills while earning CME credit. Drawing on the same questions released on the Academy® app in 2012 and 2014, nine modules contain 50 questions specific to each specialty. The physician learner will read and analyze otolaryngology-specific questions and rationales developed by otolaryngology experts. Included in each module is thorough feedback for each question, additional reading references, and appropriate images and videos to enhance the learning experience. Pediatric Otolaryngology eLectures Pediatric Otolaryngology eLectures, coproduced by the American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology (ASPO) and AAO-HNSF, offer learners education opportunities designed to address pressing patient care concerns facing pediatric and general otolaryngologists. The webinars in this series are: Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis Diagnosis and Management of Vascular Malformations Update on Allergic Rhinitis—A Burdensome Disease Down Syndrome: Otolaryngologic Manifestations Evaluation and Management of Sialorrhea in Children Hearing Tests and Hearing Aids: More Interesting Than You Thought Complications of Acute Rhinosinusitis in Children Otitis Media Update Assessment and Management of Velopharyngeal Dysfunction Evaluation of Pediatric Sensorineural Hearing Loss Unilateral Hearing Loss In Children Caustic Ingestion Management of Pediatric Vocal Fold Immobility Head and Neck Masses in the Pediatric Population Quality and Safety in Surgery: How to Become a Better Surgeon Choking and Aspiration in Children: Evaluation and Management Pediatric Sleep Medicine 2014: A Roundtable Discussion Eustachian Tube and Evolution Social Media—A Blessing or a Curse for the Otolaryngologist Genetics and Pediatric Otolaryngology These archived recordings are be available for AMA PRA Category 1™ credit. ENT for the PA-C eLecture Series The annual ENT for the PA-C Conference is jointly presented by the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Foundation and the Society of Physician Assistants in Otorhinolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery. The primary audience for the conference is nonphysician clinicians, especially physician assistants, and nurse practitioners who specialize in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery. This eLecture Series, recorded at the 2015 ENT for the PA-C Annual Conference, includes the following presentations: Healthcare Reform Audiogram Interpretation: 10-minute Dizziness Evaluation Evaluation and Management of Facial Nerve Paralysis Everything You Ever (and Never) Need to Know About Salivary Glands Differential Diagnosis and Management of Conductive Hearing Loss Non-otologic Sources of Otalgia Diagnosis and Treatment of Anaphylaxis Evaluation and Management of Pediatric Neck Masses OSA: Improving Treatment Outcomes Vocal Fold Paralysis Diagnosis and Treatment Assisting in ENT Procedures These archived recordings will be available for AAPA CME credit. Visit for these new activities along with the entire catalog of education opportunities offered by the AAO-HNS Foundation.