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Objective: This study was designed to seek a nationwide perspective on the status of identification and intervention for infants and young children with hearing loss.

Design: Three hundred thirty-one parents, whose children ranged from infancy to 5 yr of age, returned a mail survey that included respondents from 35 states. Parents were asked to report the approximate age of suspicion, diagnosis, hearing aid fitting, and initiation of early intervention services. Demographic information, risk factors, if known, and reasons for delay were also investigated.

Results: Results revealed substantial delays between parental suspicion, audiologic-medical diagnosis, fitting of acoustic amplification, and initiation of early intervention services; however, the pattern of delay was different for children with known risk factors than it was for those without known risk factors. The median age of identification and intervention was lower than that reported by some previous investigators, although a considerable range was reported for each category.

Conclusions: The median age of identification and intervention, although still higher than optimal, may be improving. Further research is needed to identify the many factors that continue to delay the timely management of hearing loss in young children.

Copyright (C) 1996 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.