Semin Hear 2004; 25(4): 295-307
DOI: 10.1055/s-2004-836132
Copyright © 2004 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Early Detection of Hearing Loss: Maintaining a Family-Centered Perspective

Marilyn Sass-Lehrer1
  • 1Professor, Department of Education, Graduate School and Professional Programs, Gallaudet University, Washington, District of Columbia
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
08 November 2004 (online)

Universal newborn hearing screening is now available to the vast majority of infants; however, follow-through to early intervention is often problematic. Flaws in the system, family situations, or the health of the child influence whether an infant who is referred for rescreening, a hearing evaluation, or early intervention actually receives services in a timely manner. Families whose children are found to have a hearing loss do not always have access to comprehensive information and resources that support their understanding of deafness or the programs and services available. A delay in obtaining comprehensive services, or inadequate information or support, may deprive children of the potential benefits of early hearing detection. A family-centered approach that values partnerships with families and promotes family competence may result in higher rates of follow through, greater participation in early intervention, and better outcomes for children. This article presents recommendations for services that are culturally sensitive, collaborative and provide families with the information and skills they need to promote their child’s early development.


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Marilyn Sass-LehrerPh.D. 

Department of Education, Graduate School and Professional Programs, Gallaudet University

800 Florida Ave.

N.E. Washington, DC 20002