Children learn speech and language from listening to others. The first few years are particularly critical to development. When a hearing loss exists a child does not get the full benefit of language learning experiences. A hearing loss may be temporary, progressive or permanent but left unnoticed, delays in speech and language learning can occur.
Newborn Hearing Screening
All newborns in hospital and community settings will receive universal
hearing screening as part of the Infant Hearing Program. Hearing screening
identifies infants who should have more in-depth testing for hearing loss as
early as possible. Hearing screenings are provided for infants under the age of
Why Do We Screen Babies For Hearing Loss?
Two out of 1,000 babies have hearing loss at birth. Two more develop
hearing loss by the age of five. These children may hear some sounds but miss
others, making it harder to learn speech and language. Early detection and
intervention is critical for a child’s language and literacy development.
How Is My Baby’s Hearing Screened?
Hearing Screen: Screening a baby’s hearing accurately
requires special training and equipment. The screen is reliable, quick and
gives results right away. It measures the ear’s or brain’s response to soft
sounds played in your baby’s ear and, if needed, may use small stickers placed
on your baby’s head. The technology used for the hearing screen is safe and
will not hurt your baby.
Risk Factor Screen: Using the same sample collected by the
hospital or midwife for the newborn blood spot screening, Newborn Screening
Ontario will also complete a risk factor screen to see if your baby is at
higher risk for hearing loss.
A community hearing screening appointment should be scheduled for your
is between 0 – 2 months of age
did not receive a hearing screening at birth
screening at birth indicated the baby should be referred to a community
newborn hearing screening clinic
is a permanent resident of the province of Ontario
resides in the regions of Halton, Peel, Waterloo, Guelph-Wellington, or
To book a newborn hearing screen, please call ErinoakKids at 1-877-374-6625.
Who can tell me if my child has a hearing impairment?
Babies– 4 to 12 months
If your physician or other professional is concerned that your child may have a permanent hearing loss or has risk factors for this diagnosis, then he may call ErinoakKids Client Services Intake Centre at 1-877-374-6625 to arrange an audiology assessment through the Central West Infant Hearing Program.
Children – One year of age to school entry
Children may be assessed by a local Audiologist on referral from a family physician. Any child identified with a permanent hearing loss may receive ongoing audiology services from the Central West Infant Hearing Program. You can call directly after receiving the diagnosis for your child of a permanent loss.
Do I wait for a hearing assessment before getting help for my child’s speech and language development?
If you feel your baby is having difficulty learning to communicate or interact with others Contact Us. KidsAbility works in partnership with other service providers to support you and your child as you learn about your child’s developmental needs and navigate through systems of support.
What services are available once my child is diagnosed with a hearing impairment?1. Central West Infant Hearing Program (CWIHP)
ErinoakKids is the lead agency for the Infant Hearing Program in Central West Ontario and partners with KidsAbility to provide Family Support and Communication Services within this program for children:
- Birth to school entry
- Residing in Waterloo Region, Guelph, Wellington County
- Diagnosed with a permanent hearing impairment
Family Support: Our Family Support Workers (FSWs) are Social Workers with Masters Degrees, and they are specially trained to help parents and children when a child has a hearing impairment. Your FSW will help you understand your child’s special situation and provide you with information and resources so that you will be knowledgeable in making decisions about your child. Your FSW will also help you find out whether you qualify for funding assistance for your child’s care.
Communication Services: Communication services are provided at KidsAbility by certified Speech Language Pathologists with specialized training in hearing impairment. Children identified with moderate-to-severe hearing impairment participate in Auditory Verbal Therapy services. Sign language as a primary communication mode is provided through other service providers attached to the CWIHP.
KidsAbility provides Social Work (Family Support) and Speech and Language (Communication) Services for children:
- Birth until eligible for Senior Kindergarten entry
- Residing in Region of Waterloo
- Diagnosed with unilateral, or mild-to-moderate hearing impairment
Family Support: Social Workers with Masters Degrees will help you understand your child’s special situation and provide you with information, resources and support. They will also help you find out whether you qualify for funding assistance for your child’s care.
Communication Services: Communication services are provided by certified Speech Language Pathologists with training in hearing impairment. Children may receive a range of services, often with an auditory-oral component.
To ask any questions or learn more about eligibility and services, contact:
ErinoakKids Client Services Intake Centre for information.
Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
905-855-3557 then press '1'
1-877-ERINOAK (1-877-374-6625) then press '1'
Learn More:Ontario Infant Hearing Program (IHP)
- a province-wide program of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services