For Families of Children with Hearing Loss

This page has been automatically translated from English. MSDH has not reviewed this translation and is not responsible for any inaccuracies.

A hearing loss can happen when any part of the ear is not working in the usual way. This includes the outer ear, middle ear, inner ear, hearing (acoustic) nerve, and auditory system. Most of the children with a hearing loss are born to parents without hearing loss.

Hearing Screenings: What Families Need to Know

The goal of the universal newborn hearing screening (UNHS) program is to help identify infants who may have a hearing loss as soon as possible. All newborns should have their hearing screened before 1 month of age.

If your child was born in a birthing hospital in Mississippi, a hearing screening was probably conducted. Information about this screening and your child’s results should have been shared with you. You may have heard one or more of the following terms used:

  • Pass: This means your baby’s hearing was considered in the normal range in one or both ears.
  • Pass-High Risk: This means your baby's hearing was considered in the normal range in one or both ears; however, your child has one or more risk factors for late onset hearing loss. Your child should receive periodic hearing screenings to determine if any hearing loss has developed.
  • Refer: This means your baby's hearing in one or both ears did not respond as expected and further testing is needed. This does not mean your baby has a confirmed hearing loss. Many conditions, including fluid in the ears that may resolve within the weeks after birth, may cause a “refer” on a hearing screen. No matter the reason, a “refer” on a hearing screen should be followed up with additional testing to determine if there is any hearing loss.
  • Incomplete: This means your child's hearing in one or both ears could not be tested for some reason. All incomplete results should be followed up with additional testing to determine if there is any hearing loss.

If your baby transferred hospitals due to a medical condition, you may contact your birthing hospital or the hospital your child transferred to in order to determine if your child received a hearing screening or to schedule a hearing screening for your child.

If you were not provided information about the results of your child's hearing screening you may contact your birthing hospital or primary care provider to obtain your medical records or you may contact the EHDI-MS to determine what results were reported for your child.

As your child grows and develops, hearing screenings are important! Only half of the children with hearing loss are born with the condition; the other half lose their hearing throughout their early and middle childhood years. Consult your primary care providers to ensure your child continues to have hearing screenings according to the Bright Futures schedule.

If you have concerns about your child’s hearing at any point in time, you may contact your primary care provider or the EHDI-MS, for children up to three years of age, to schedule a hearing evaluation.

Hearing Evaluation: What Families Need to Know

In Mississippi, children who refer on their final hearing screening or who were not provided a hearing screening should have a diagnostic evaluation to determine how they hear. This evaluation will be conducted by an Audiologist. If your child has a medical condition or an infection in their middle ear, you may also see an Otolaryngologist or Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT) Doctor.

What is an Audiologist? Audiologists are the primary health-care professionals who evaluate, diagnose, treat, and manage hearing loss and balance disorders. Audiologists prescribe and fit hearing aids, recommend and program implantable hearing devices, perform ear- or hearing-related surgical monitoring, and provide hearing rehabilitation training such as auditory training, speech reading, and listening skills improvement. For more information, see What is an Audiologist?, Who Are Audiologists?, and Audiologists.

What is an Otolaryngologist or Ear-Nose-Throat physician? Otolaryngologists are physicians trained in the medical and surgical management and treatment of patients with diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, throat (ENT), and related structures of the head and neck. They are commonly referred to as ENT physicians. ENTs are trained in both the medical and surgical treatment of hearing loss, ear infections, balance disorders, ear noise (tinnitus), and some cranial nerve disorders. They manage birth disorders of the outer and inner ear. For more information, see What is an Otolaryngologist?

Early Intervention: What Families Need to Know

In Mississippi, all children ages birth to 36 months with any degree or type of hearing loss are eligible to receive early intervention services under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Through the Mississippi First Steps Early Intervention Program, families are provided a Service Coordinator who will assist them in connecting with early intervention providers who provide signed and cued language services and special instruction for children with hearing loss.

The following provide early intervention services for infants and toddlers with hearing loss:

Learning Experiences

Brochures and Flyers




Discover early intervention resources at Hands and Voices →

Last reviewed on Oct 2, 2023 request edits

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Mississippi State Department of Health 570 East Woodrow Wilson Dr Jackson, MS 39216 866‑HLTHY4U Contact and information

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