Every parent needs to know the status of their baby’s hearing first because the earlier a child with hearing loss is identified, amplified and receiving help, the more opportunities that child will have. So, in 2015, the Foundation launched Hearing First to help caring adults support infants and toddlers who are deaf or hard of hearing to have the same listening, spoken language, and literacy opportunities as their hearing friends.
Accessible entirely online and free of charge, Hearing First is available for families when they need information, a resource, a connection with another family or simply someone to tell them what to do next. Hearing First reaches families through the Hearing First community, its social platforms and, importantly, the professionals in a family’s life. Hearing First also equips professionals with the resources, community and learning experiences they need to improve outcomes for children with hearing loss through LSL.
In 2021, Hearing First launched a bold, nationwide awareness campaign to reach soon-to-be parents and families to inform them of the importance of the newborn hearing screening (NHS) and the urgency of quick follow up. In its first year, the Starts Hear campaign has informed hundreds of thousands of moms about the connection between hearing health and brain development and empowers them to take action.
For a free report on the first year of the Starts Hear campaign and to see the impact it’s having on expectant families, visit the Starts Hear page.
Hearing First Resources
Some of the resources available through Hearing First include:
- For Celebrating LSL:
- For Connecting with others:
- Hearing First Family Support Community: A community where parents, caregivers and other family members can support each other through questions, responses, resources and inspirational stories regardless of geography, busy schedules or time zones.
- Hearing First Professional Learning Community: With thousands of active members, the Professional Learning Community offers professionals opportunities for discussion, continuing education and shared knowledge across a wide range of hearing health fields and for all experience levels.
- For Learning and Growing to support the child in your life:
- Starts Hear: A national health awareness campaign launched in 2021 highlighting the importance of hearing to brain development and knowing the results of the newborn hearing screening.
- Written Resources: A searchable database of hundreds of handouts, white papers, articles and checklists designed to answer your questions on “what to do next.”
- Learning Experiences: Courses offered throughout the year on a variety of LSL and audiology topics for all experience levels, many for continuing education units.