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Programs & Services

Undetected hearing loss is a developmental emergency, but we are here to help by connecting you to the resources to help understand this process and make informed decisions as a parent or provider. Together, we can ensure that every child receives the care and support they need in a timely manner.

Hearing loss is one of the most common major birth conditions.  Hearing loss can affect a child’s ability to develop speech, language and social skills.  If identification does not happen until after six months of age, on average the child’s language skills at age 3 will be about half of a child with normal hearing.  Iowa’s Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program works to ensure that all newborns and toddlers with hearing loss are identified as early as possible and provided with timely and appropriate audiological, educational  and medical services, as well as family support.  Whether you are a parent or a professional, this site is designed to serve as a guide to learn more about newborn hearing screening, diagnosis of hearing loss and resources available to assist children and families in Iowa. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about hearing loss and your role in its detection and support.

Based on national statistics, approximately 100 Iowa children (out of over 39,000 births per year) will be born with permanent hearing loss. Screening your baby’s hearing is very important, even if your family has no history of hearing problems. In fact, 95% of babies born with hearing loss are born to parents with normal hearing. Studies show that children who experience hearing loss can have delays in speech, language, cognitive development (thinking) and social and emotional development. Studies show that if identification of hearing loss does not happen until after six months of age, a child’s language skills at age 3 will be about half those of a child with normal hearing.

Goals we strive to achieve

At the Iowa Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program, we work to ensure that all newborns and toddlers with hearing loss are identified as early as possible and provided with appropriate audiological, educational and medical intervention. We also support families of children with hearing loss so that they are equipped with necessary information and resources. We are dedicated to a lifelong care model, providing unbiased support to families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. The work we do is driven by the national EHDI goals (outlined below) that aim to advance EHDI systems of care.

Goal 1. All newborns will be screened for hearing loss before 1 month of age, preferably before hospital discharge.

Goal 2. All infants who screen positive will have a diagnostic audiologic evaluation before 3 months of age.

Goal 3. All infants identified with hearing loss will receive appropriate early intervention services before 6 months of age (medical, audiologic, and early intervention).

Goal 4. All infants and children with late onset or progressive hearing loss will be identified at the earliest possible time.

Goal 5. All infants with hearing loss will have a medical home as defined by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Goal 6. Every state will have an EHDI tracking and surveillance system that minimizes loss to follow-up.

Goal 7. Every state will have a system that monitors and evaluates the progress towards the EHDI goals and objectives.

Iowa legislature passed a law (Iowa Code section 135.131) which requires universal hearing screening of all newborns and infants in Iowa. The law further provides that any birthing hospital, birth center, or facility, including Area Education Agencies (AEAs), as well as providers, such as physicians, audiologists or other health care professional are legally required to report the results of a hearing screen, re-screen or diagnostic assessment for any child under three years of age to Iowa HHS.

The EHDI program staff assists families and providers in implementation of this law and captures information in order to increase timely referral and enrollment into early intervention, as needed. Together, we can support children in Iowa so that they may achieve the best possible outcomes.

Contact Us

  • State EHDI Coordinator: Tammy O'Hollearn  Iowa Department of Health and Human Services  (515) 218-6735 – direct (833) 496-8040 – toll free tammy.ohollearn@idph.iowa.gov
  • EHDI Program Assistant: Jinifer Cox  Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (515) 281-7085 – direct (833) 496-8040 – toll free jinifer.cox@idph.iowa.gov
  • EHDI Follow-Up Coordinator: Linda True Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (515) 204-6948 - direct (833) 496-8040 – toll free linda.true@idph.iowa.gov  
  • EHDI Follow-up Coordinator: Rita Fredericks Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (515) 305-1666 – cell (833) 496-8040 – toll free rita.fredericks@idph.iowa.gov  
  • EHDI Family Support Coordinator: Heather Dirks Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (515) 344-2710 – cell (833) 496-8040 – toll free heather.dirks@idph.iowa.gov
  • Audiology Technical Assistance: Linda True, AuD, CCC-A Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (515) 204-6948 - direct (833) 496-8040 – toll free linda.true@idph.iowa.gov

Advisory Committee

The EHDI Advisory Committee is composed of a multidisciplinary group from the health care community, including the Iowa Hospital Association, private practice audiologists, pediatricians, family practice physicians, and otolaryngologists. Also represented are members of the deaf community, parents of children with hearing loss, advocates, Early ACCESS (IDEA, Part C), Area Education Agencies, and other stakeholders that are affected by or involved with newborn hearing screening. The committee was designed to build partnerships and advise EHDI staff as we move toward establishing and implementing project goals. The committee has been and continues to be an integral part of our EHDI program.

Join us for a meeting

The EHDI Advisory Committee typically meets in April, July and October from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at a location in Des Moines. For the next scheduled meeting date, time, and location please contact EHDI at (833) 436-8040. Accommodations available upon request.

Meet the EHDI Advisory Committee Members

For earlier meeting minutes, please contact tammy.ohollearn@idph.iowa.gov

EHDI Calendar of Events

EHDI Family Events

EHDI Provider Events