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Mississippi Bend AEA Receives Grant for Otoacoustic Emissions Equipment

February 14, 2011

Each year approximately 12,000 babies are born in the United States with permanent hearing loss. In addition, another 2 or 3 per 1,000 children will acquire a loss after birth. The majority of these children are born to families with no history of hearing loss. Early hearing loss detection and identification are critical to avoiding language and learning deficits.

The Mississippi bend Area Education Agency (AEA) received a $4,400 grant from Scott County Regional Authority to assist in the purchase of an Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) equipment. Approximately 250 babies/children are identified through the screening process each year using OAE equipment, then benefitting from follow-up audiology services provided by the AEA.

Iowa law mandates that all infants born in the state be screened for hearing loss. The goal is to have every child screened by one month. Those who do not pass the screening have a comprehensive evaluation by three months, and infants begining intervention services by six months of age. The role of the AEA is to provide outpatient audiology services for infants who do not pass initial hearing screenings in the hospital or are at risk for developing a hearing loss and to provide the link to Early Access (birth-3) services.

The Mississippi Bend AEA provides approximately 250 outpatient follow-up tests for newborn hearing screenings annually. Of these, approximately 30 children require additional testing or follow-up. Ultimately, about four babies per year, within the Mississippi Bend AEA service area, are identified as having a significant hearing loss and receive early intervention services. OAE testing equipment is often used as one part of a test battery for roughly 1,000 hearing tests done in the Mississippi Bend AEA Early Childhood Center. The equipment is also used when testing 1,333 children who attend public preschools in Scott County.

If you have any questions about this equipment or AEA audiology services please contact Margaret McDoniel, audiologist for early childhood at (563) 344-6284 or or Brian Foy, assistant coordinator for Low Incidence Disabilities at (563) 344-6275 or


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