What is IL EHDI
The Illinois Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (IL EHDI) program works to ensure that families of babies and children who are deaf or hard of hearing (dhh) receive appropriate and timely services. These services include hearing screening, diagnosis, early intervention (EI) and parent-to-parent support, provided through coordinated systems of care.
It is important to identify a baby's hearing level as early as possible so that families can figure out the best way to communicate with them. Hearing screening is the first step in finding out if a child is deaf or hard of hearing. Illinois law mandates that all babies be screened prior to hospital discharge. IL EHDI follows the 2019 Joint Committee on Infant Hearing's Position Statement and national benchmarks for hearing screening no later than 1 month of age, diagnosis no later than 3 months of age, and for infants who did not pass the screening.
This Illinois Sound Beginnings Website is designed to help families and professionals navigate the dynamics of raising and supporting infants and toddlers who are deaf and hard of hearing (DHH), including those infants and toddlers who have additional disabilities.
Illinois EHDI works with parents and providers to ensure all babies get their hearing screened:
Hearing Screening before 1 month of age
Newborn hearing screening measures a baby’s auditory (hearing) system response when they hear sounds. All babies are required to get a hearing screening before they leave the hospital. While newborn hearing screening can’t determine if your baby is deaf or hard of hearing, it will let you know if your baby needs more testing. If a baby requires follow-up testing after the initial hearing screening, they will need to be rescreened.
Diagnostic Testing before 3 months of age
Some babies need follow-up testing after being rescreened. Those babies will be referred to an audiologist to receive diagnostic testing. This test will confirm your baby's hearing level and determine whether or not they have hearing loss.
Early Intervention before 6 months of age
Babies who are diagnosed as DHH will be referred to early intervention services. The EHDI program will link you to services that can help you in this process.
Parent Support right from the start
Babies who are diagnosed as DHH will be referred to parent support to link you to services that can help you in this process. The organization listed in the FAMILIES page will reach out to you to provide support and guidance and help you navigate through the coming months.
What is IL Sound Beginnings?
As true partners, the IL EHDI (Early Hearing Detection & Intervention) and IL Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side (ILHV GBYS) staff work very closely to develop grant narratives, budgets, project methodology, work plans, and data measures. By having activities family-focused, this allows the program to address the screening and follow-up needs of all infants and their families in Illinois while reducing diagnostic loss to follow-up and increasing early intervention and parent-to-parent support enrollment.