Matsui, Guthrie Introduce Bill for Newborn Hearing Screening

Matsui, Guthrie Introduce Bill for Newborn Hearing Screening

Senators Portman, Kaine Introduce Senate Companion Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06) and Congressman Brett Guthrie (KY-02) today introduced the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act of 2017, a bipartisan bill that would reauthorize a federal program for newborn hearing tests. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

The newborn hearing screening and intervention program was established in 1999, and over its first fifteen years the percentage of newborn babies screened every year jumped from 40 percent in 2000 to 97 percent of infants in 2015. The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act would authorize the continuation of the program, which lapsed in 2015.

“So much of a child’s development happens in the first few years of their life, which is why early detection and intervention is so important,” said Matsui. “This bill will ensure that more infants have access to critical hearing screenings, so parents can be informed about the options for their children’s care. I’m pleased to join Congressman Guthrie in introducing this important legislation that will improve health, social, and educational outcomes for kids as they grow.”

“Early detection of hearing loss makes a dramatic difference in the lives of infants and can significantly improve the outcome of one’s prognosis,” said Guthrie. “I am proud to work with Congresswoman Matsui, Senator Portman, and Senator Kaine to introduce the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act of 2017. Reauthorizing this program is critical to providing tools for screening newborns so they can receive any necessary treatment and services to prevent developmental delays.”

“Early hearing detection is critical because children with hearing loss often fall behind their peers in speech development, cognitive skills, and social skills,” said Portman.  “This bill takes important steps to improve early hearing detection and intervention for newborns, infants, and young children, and I’m hopeful we can move this legislation quickly in a strong bipartisan way.”

“The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act reauthorizes and improves critical programs that ensure we are properly diagnosing and treating hearing loss in newborns, infants and young children. Access to these services meets an important public health need for families in Virginia and across the country. We know that early intervention means improved outcomes, and our bill will benefit the families of hard-of-hearing children who rely on these services,” Kaine said.