HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO NEWBORN HEARING SCREENING.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. Newborn hearing screening is mandated by section 321-361 to 321-363, Hawaii Revised Statutes, as a public health screening program that helps deaf or hard of hearing children reach their developmental milestones and be language ready for school.
Furthermore, the national standards for early hearing detection and intervention are hearing screening by age one month, diagnostic audiologic evaluation by age three months, and enrollment in early intervention services by age six months. Studies show that children who are deaf or hard of hearing who receive early hearing screening and appropriate follow-up have better vocabulary outcomes, reach their language and communication milestones, and are language ready for school.
Furthermore, the department of health newborn hearing screening program does not receive diagnostic audiologic evaluation results for all newborns who do not pass newborn hearing screening. Consistent reporting of diagnostic audiologic evaluation results will allow the program to ensure that all infants who do not pass hearing screening will receive a diagnostic audiologic evaluation and appropriate follow-up and support. Timely diagnostic audiologic evaluation results will also facilitate referrals into early intervention services for infants who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The purpose of this Act is to ensure that timely diagnostic audiologic reports on newborns who did not pass newborn hearing screening, or infants whose hearing status changes, are provided to the department of health; and to update definitions and terminology.
SECTION 2. Section 321-361, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
§321-361[ ]] Definitions. As used in this part, unless the context
clearly indicates otherwise:
"Audiologist" means an individual professional licensed as an audiologist pursuant to chapter 468E.
"Deaf or hard of hearing" means any type and degree of permanent hearing loss as assessed by a licensed audiologist or physician specialized in hearing function.
"Department" means the department of health.
"Diagnostic audiologic evaluation" means an evaluation of the sensitivity of a person's sense of hearing as assessed by a licensed audiologist or physician specialized in hearing function.
infant" means an infant who has an impairment that is a dysfunction of the
auditory system of any type or degree sufficient to interfere with the
acquisition and development of speech and language skills.]
"Hearing screening" means objective procedures to detect possible hearing loss and determine the need for diagnostic audiologic and medical evaluations.
"Infant" means a child from birth to thirty-six months of age.
"Management" means the
habilitation of the hearing impaired infant. "Screening" means a
test or battery of tests administered to determine the need for a professional
SECTION 3. Section 321-362, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§321-362 Duties. It shall be the duty and responsibility of the department to:
implement, and evaluate a statewide [
program for early identification of,
and intervention for, hearing impairment in infants;] system for hearing
screening and diagnostic audiologic evaluation to identify infants who are deaf
or hard of hearing, and for referral and enrollment of these infants in early
standards and guidelines for [
the] hearing screening,
identification, diagnosis, intervention, and monitoring of infants [ with
hearing impairment and infants at risk for delayed onset of hearing impairment;]
who are deaf or hard of hearing or have been identified with a risk
indicator for developing delayed-onset or progressive hearing loss, or both;
(3) Develop a plan in
conjunction with the department of [
education's statewide center for students
with hearing or visual impairments] education to involve [ the]
parents or guardians [ with the]in any medical and educational
follow-up [ and management of] for infants who [ have been identified
as hearing-impaired or at risk of delayed onset of hearing impairments;] are
deaf or hard of hearing, or who have been identified with a risk indicator
for developing delayed-onset or progressive hearing loss, or both; and
(4) Collect and analyze program data in relation to the duties and responsibilities of the department."
SECTION 4. Section 321-362.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
§321-362.5[ ] Screening
for hearing impairment.] Hearing
screening, diagnostic audiologic evaluation, and intervention. (a)
All newborn infants shall [ be screened for hearing impairment for
early identification of children with hearing loss and for the promotion of
their development of language and communication.] receive a hearing
screening to allow early identification and intervention to maximize social,
emotional, and language outcomes for children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The person in charge of each birthing facility caring for newborn
infants and the responsible physician attending the birth of a newborn or the
person assisting the birth of a child not attended by a physician shall ensure
that every infant in the person's care [
be screened for hearing impairment.]
receives a hearing screening. This
section shall not apply if the parent, guardian, or other person having custody
or control of the child objects to the hearing screening in writing on
the grounds that the hearing screening conflicts with their religious
beliefs. The written objection shall be
made a part of the infant's medical record.
Birthing facilities [
screening newborn infants for hearing impairment]
shall report newborn hearing screening results to the department[ , for
the purpose of the department ensuring a statewide system for the screening,
diagnostic evaluation, and intervention for all newborn infants with hearing
(d) Audiologists and physicians specialized in hearing
function who perform diagnostic audiologic evaluations of
infants shall report diagnostic audiologic evaluation results of
those infants who do not pass the hearing screening test or are
diagnosed as deaf or hard of hearing up to the age of three
years to the department."
SECTION 5. Section 321-363, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§321-363 Rules. The department shall adopt rules, pursuant to
chapter 91, necessary for the purposes of this part, including but not limited
to administration and quality of newborn hearing screening; retention of
records and related data; reporting of [
positive] hearing screening
results; reporting of diagnostic audiologic evaluation [ and]
results; intervention for infants [ with hearing impairment;] who
have been identified as deaf or hard of hearing; informing parents about
the purpose of hearing screening[ ;], diagnostic audiologic
evaluation, and intervention; and maintaining the confidentiality of
SECTION 6. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 7. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
Newborn; Hearing Screening; Diagnostic Tests
Amends the newborn hearing screening statute to mandate reporting of diagnostic audiologic evaluation results to improve hearing follow-up of infants. Updates definitions and terminology.
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.