INFANT HEARING PROGRAM
Nearly four in 1,000 babies are born deaf or hard of hearing. More lose their hearing later as they grow. These children may need to learn speech and language differently, so detecting hearing loss early is essential. Our Infant Hearing Program is designed to give children a better start in life by screening hearing loss and providing supports that enhance language development.
Our services focus on identifying all infants with permanent hearing loss, giving parents and caregivers the information they need to make timely, informed decisions, and providing the services necessary to maximize family communication and language development.
Working with an interdisciplinary team, we provide the following services:
- Newborn Hearing Screening – Free hearing screening for all newborns before leaving the hospital or through a Community Screening Clinic. Certain medical and genetic risk factors for hearing loss are also tested through Newborn Screening Ontario.
- Audiology Services – Hearing tests and hearing technology fitting management offered through various Infant Hearing Audiology Clinics in Toronto
- Family Support – Counselling, support and general information about community agencies; resources, and referrals to community programs
- Communication Development Support – Assessment of your child’s oral and/or visual communication development, parent support and education
Newborn Hearing Screening:
This service is appropriate for you and your child if:
- You live in Toronto
- Your child is between zero to two months old.
If your baby or child has known risk factors for permanent hearing loss and is between two to 24 months old, they may be eligible for testing.
Audiology Services, Family Support & Communication Development Support
These services are appropriate for you and your child if:
- You live in Toronto.
- Your child is between zero to six years old.
- Your child has permanent hearing loss.
If you are concerned about your child’s hearing and do not qualify for testing through the Infant Hearing Program, have their hearing tested by an audiologist in the community. You can contact your baby’s doctor for a referral or visit College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario to find an audiologist. You will want to ensure that the audiologist has experience working with young children.
If your baby is identified with a permanent hearing loss by an audiologist who is not part of the Infant Hearing Program, please obtain a copy of the report and contact Toronto Public Health. Your family can be referred back to the Infant Hearing Program for provincially-funded supports and services until your child is six years old.
If you live outside of Toronto, contact your local Infant Hearing Program.