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Capps Hails House Passage of Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act

The congresswoman authored the House version of the legislation

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Wednesday applauded unanimous passage in the House of Representatives of S. 3199, the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act of 2010, modeled after her House-passed legislation, the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act of 2009 (House Resolution 1246).

Capps’ legislation passed the House unanimously in March 2009. The legislation will be sent to President Barack Obama’s desk for his approval.

The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act promotes universal newborn hearing screening. More than 12,000 babies in the United States are born either deaf or hard of hearing, and absent newborn screening, hearing loss can go undetected in the beginning of a child’s life.

“I am so pleased that this important piece of legislation is headed to the president’s desk to be signed into law,” Capps said. “Newborn hearing screening is an investment in a child’s future. Having spent 20 years as a nurse in public schools in Santa Barbara, I know firsthand that early identification and intervention can help to lessen social and educational setbacks that children with hearing loss encounter far too often in school.”

Since its creation, the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention programs has made tremendous strides toward achieving universal newborn hearing screening. In 2000, only about 45 percent of newborns were screened for hearing. Today, more than 93 percent of newborns are screened.

The reauthorization of the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention program strengthens language to ensure that newborns and infants identified with hearing loss receive the follow-up services to help lessen and even prevent delays in cognitive and language development.

The legislation authorizes funding for screening, intervention and research activities at the Health Resources Services Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health.

— Ashley Schapitl is press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.


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