The Guam Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (Guam EHDI) held two of six mini conferences scheduled for the last grant year of the Na’ Mas Fitme Project. On July 15 and August 19, a total of 94 participants made up of family members, caregivers, and childcare providers attended the conferences at the Dusit Beach Resort Guam. The Guam EHDI staff provided conference attendees with an overview of the projects and services provided by Guam CEDDERS, for individuals with disabilities, their families, and service providers in the community. Project staff presented information on the newborn hearing screening process emphasizing the importance of following the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH) 1-3-6 Plan: 1) initial hearing screening by one month of age; 2) diagnostic audiological evaluations (DAE) by three months of age; and 3) enrollment in early childhood services by six months of age, understanding childhood hearing loss, how children learn language, and knowledge of a variety of communication approaches for children identified with hearing loss.
The project held a virtual Learning Community on July 28 with a total of 23 participants inclusive of childcare providers, a DHH adult, and a public health administrator. The project provided information on the newborn hearing process and led a discussion on what the participants can do to assist the project meet the JCIH 1-3-6 goals.
Guam EHDI Advisory Committee held the first meeting for the grant year on August 29, at Tony Roma’s. At this meeting, the EHDI Team reported the successes and challenges of the project. One of the successes noted is the percentage of babies receiving an initial hearing screening prior to discharge at Guam Memorial Hospital Authority (GMHA). The hospital screened 97% of its infants born between November 2022 to July 2023. This is two percent higher than the national average. Delivering timely diagnostic evaluations for children ages zero to three months old by three months and enrollment in early intervention services by six months continues to be a challenge. The island has only one local audiologist available to serve this young population.
Guam EHDI continues to provide much-needed outpatient follow-up hearing rescreens for babies who referred (failed) the initial hearing screening test provided at GMHA before discharge. Guam EHDI screened 58 babies from June through August; of the babies screened, 48 passed, and 10 referred. The staff provided referrals to Guam Early Intervention System to provide supports necessary for families to complete an audiological evaluation of the child with suspected hearing loss. The project also provides screening results to the family to share with the child’s primary care physician (PCP). The PCP is critical in providing referrals for audiological evaluations. A referral from the PCP to the audiologist for a diagnostic audiological evaluation (DAE) ensures the child gets a diagnosis by three months of age. In addition, the project connects parents to a family support group upon receiving consent from the parent. Guam EHDI and its partners are committed to achieving the Joint Committee of Infant Hearing (JCIH) 1-3-6 hearing screening guidelines:
- Hearing screening by 1 month of age;
- Diagnostic Audiological Evaluation by 3 months of age; and
- Baby with hearing loss enrolled in early intervention services by 6 months of age.
To learn more about newborn hearing screening, visit our website at guamehdi.org.