Head Start and Early Head Start children will receive a hearing screening using a standardized screening tool within 45 days of enrollment. Parents will be notified of results. Follow-up plans will be developed by the Health and Nutrition Consultant (HNC) with input from Audiologists and Medical Providers.


  1. Initial screenings will be done by the HNC, Health and Nutrition Specialist (HNS), or appropriately trained staff using bilingual Speech Recognition audiometry (bSRA) or OtoAcoustic Emission Screener (OAE).
  2. Regional Managers (RMs) will have primary responsibility for assuring that all children are screened within 45 days.If child’s hearing has not been screened with 30 days, a plan will be developed to involve the family to assure completion of screening before the 45 day deadline.  If RMs need additional equipment, or more staff training to assure that screenings will be completed, this should be requested through Head Start Director.
  3. All Hearing Screening results and follow-up plans and activities will be documented in WebCAF. FSC/HV/CCC/Teachers will use data from WebCAF to communicate results and follow-up plans to families.
  4. The HNC will determine whether child will continue to be re-screened within Head Start (in some cases with OAE equipment) or whether they should be referred to their Medical Home or Audiologist. For repeated “unable to test” or failed screenings, staff should request specific follow-up support from the HNC.
  5. For any children with diagnosed Speech or Language delay, the HNC will work with Early Childhood CARES and the Medical Home, to ensure that a more thorough hearing evaluation is performed by their Speech Pathologist, or the Early Childhood CARES audiologist.
  6. Re-enrolling children, who have passed a hearing screening the year prior, will only be required to be re-screened if there are delays in Speech & Language Development or concerns about hearing noted by staff or parents.
  7. HNC will consult with HSAC Pediatricians and Audiologists to evaluate the effectiveness of our screening methods- and to ensure that there is no unnecessary duplication of efforts.

This policy complies with Head Start Performance Standard 45 CFR Section 1304.20. (2) (b) 1304.20 (e) (1)1308.

It was approved by Policy Council on April 8, 1997.
Updated July 26, 1999, July 2003. June 2008. August 2009. December 2010.July 2013
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