The Association of Race with Decreased Access to Pediatric Hearing Healthcare in the United States

Jamie H. Cadieux, Lisa S. Davidson, Angela Mazul, Amanda Ortmann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Successful intervention to support a child with congenital hearing loss requires early identification and consistent access to frequent professional services. In the early 2000s, the United States implemented an initiative, Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI), to provide timely identification and treatment of congenital hearing loss. This national program aims to screen hearing by 1 month of age, diagnose hearing loss by 3 months of age, and provide intervention to infants with hearing loss by 6 months of age. To date, the United States is successfully implementing hearing screening by 1 month of age but continually struggling to diagnose and treat congenital hearing loss promptly for many infants. This article begins by exploring the current state of American children and families, focusing on social determinants of health, specifically race and poverty. The objective is to understand how race affects social determinants of health, and ultimately hearing healthcare access for children. A narrative literature review spanning public health, sociology, and hearing research was completed to inform this work. The current body of literature supports the conclusion that race and racism, separate from poverty, lead to decreased access to pediatric hearing healthcare. Interventions targeting these issues are necessary to improve timely access to hearing loss diagnosis and treatment for American children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-275
Number of pages7
JournalEar and hearing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2024


  • Childhood hearing loss
  • Congenital hearing loss
  • EHDI
  • Early intervention
  • Health disparity
  • Health inequity
  • Race
  • Racism
  • Social determinants of health


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