Yesterday, Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act (S. 3199), originally passed in 1999. AG Bell has been advocating for this legislation as a member of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Alliance. A companion bill passed the House of Representatives last year.
The bill supports the development of efficient models to ensure that newborns and infants who are identified with a hearing loss through screening receive follow-up by a qualified health care provider. The bill includes the establishment and fostering of family-to-family support mechanisms that are critical in the first months after a child is identified with hearing loss.