Congress passes Portman-Kaine bill to promote early hearing detection
The House has passed bipartisan Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act, legislation that will reauthorize current research and improve public health programs for early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of hearing loss in newborns, infants, and young children.
The Senate passed the bill on September 6. The measure is now headed to the president’s desk for his signature.
“Early hearing detection is critical because children with hearing loss often fall behind their peers in speech development, cognitive skills, and social skills,” said Sen. Rob Portman,. R-Ohio. “This bill takes important steps to improve early hearing detection and intervention for newborns, infants, and young children. I am pleased my House colleagues acted quickly on this important legislation, and I urge the president to sign it into law.”
“This bill will help kids by strengthening health programs that can detect, diagnose, and address hearing loss. I’m proud we were able to get our bipartisan bill passed by Congress so it can start making a difference in the lives of families in Virginia.” Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said. “I was glad to join Senator Portman on this important piece of legislation and look forward to the President swiftly signing this into law.”
“The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is pleased that the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) legislation has passed in the House and Senate and is headed to the president’s desk,” said ASHA President Gail Richard, PhD, CCC-SLP. “We are grateful for the efforts of Senators Portman and Kaine as well as Congressmen Guthrie and Matsui in promoting this legislation. The EHDI program has been successful in ensuring hearing screening at birth for more than 97 percent of all newborns. This legislation will build on the success of the program and place more emphasis on ensuring that those identified with a hearing loss receive the care they need.”