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.
KidsAbility Infant Hearing Screening Information During COVID-19
During the Covid19 pandemic, newborn screening in the hospital and in the community has been temporarily suspended in order to protect the safety of newborns, families, staff and the greater community. The Ministry of Health is working with the regional partners to identify when services will resume and which services will be considered a priority in the first phase of re-opening. To date, we have no direction for screening but certainly understand the concerns of parents. Further information will be provided as soon as it is available.
Who can tell me if my child has a hearing impairment?
Newborns - Birth to 4 months
All parents of babies born in Ontario are offered a free hearing screening for their newborn before they leave the hospital.
If your baby was not screened and is not yet 4 months of age call ErinoakKids Client Services Intake Centre at 1-877-374-6625 to arrange a community screening assessment through the Central West Infant Hearing Program.
Toddlers – 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.
Preschoolers – 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