Ontario Infant Hearing Program
The Ontario Infant Hearing Program (IHP) is a province-wide program of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services designed to:
- identify all infants with permanent hearing impairment;
- give parents the information they need to make timely, informed decisions; and
- provide the services necessary to maximize family communication and language development, important for developing reading skills and school success.
The first months and years of a baby's life are critical for developing language. Most children can hear right from birth. They learn to talk by imitating the sounds around them and the voices of their parents and caregivers. But that's not true for every child.
Every year in Ontario, nearly four in 1,000 babies are born deaf or hard of hearing. More lose their hearing later as they grow. Many of these children may need to learn speech and language differently, so it's important to detect hearing loss as early as possible.
The Infant Hearing Program was announced in the Ontario Government’s 2000 Budget and was implemented in 2002. It builds on previously introduced government programs designed to give children a better start in life, including the Preschool Speech and Language Initiative.
The Infant Hearing Program Southwest Region is one of 12 provincially funded infant hearing initiatives. It provides its' many services and supports to families and children who reside in the counties of: Bruce, Elgin, Grey, Huron, Lambton, Middlesex, Oxford and Perth.
Services offered by the Infant Hearing Program
The IHP provides:
- Universal newborn hearing screening
- Re-screening of high-risk infants (‘surveillance’)
- Audiological assessment for infants identified with a ‘refer’ result from the screening
- Referral for medical assessment for those identified with a permanent hearing impairment
- Information and support for families (Social Worker / Family Support Worker) for those identified with permanent hearing impairment
- Amplification (i.e. hearing instrument) prescription and verification
- Service options to enhance language development
Southwest Region Infant Hearing Program Contacts
The Middlesex London Health Unit administers the Infant Hearing Program for the Southwest region.
For further information contact: 519-663-0273 or 1-877-818-8255
Why is it important to have your baby’s hearing screened?
It is very important to find out if your baby has hearing loss. Undetected hearing loss can cause delays in your baby's speech development. This can lead to behavioural and emotional problems and, later on, to problems in school.
The sooner hearing loss is identified, the better. There are many services available to help children with hearing loss. Finding out early means that your child can get the help they need right away. This gives them the same chance to develop language skills as hearing children.
There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in. ~Deepak Chopra