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BC Early Hearing Program

The BC Early Hearing Program works towards achieving the best language outcomes for all young children in BC.

The BC Early Hearing Program (BCEHP) is the province-wide screening program to check hearing for babies born in BC. The program provides integrated services from hearing screening to hearing testing as well as early language support following identification of hearing loss.

Find a hearing clinic near you

My baby needs hearing testing

My baby needs hearing testing

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Babies say their first words around one year of age. By preschool age they usually know more than 1,500 words and begin telling stories. These early language skills serve as a foundation for learning in school.

Early hearing screening is important. When a baby is born deaf or hard of hearing, the process of developing language can be delayed. Early screening helps reduce this delay by identifying children with hearing loss and providing their families the support and professional care they need.

Even if no one in your family has hearing loss, it is important to have your baby's hearing screened and to attend any recommended further hearing testingAbout 1 in 400 babies is born with hearing loss. This number increases to 1 in 50 for babies who have complex health issues at birth. Most babies who are deaf or hard of hearing are born into families with no history of hearing loss.

See our Hearing Testing section for information about newborn hearing screening and hearing testing for infants and children.

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My baby has hearing loss

My baby has hearing loss

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BC Early Hearing Program (BCEHP) provides the following services at no cost to families: 
  • a professional who will assist you with information about services available
  • funding for early language and communication services
    • one-to-one sessions with an early speech and language specialist
    • sign language instruction
  • hearing aids (if appropriate), batteries and earmolds
  • parent support
See our Parent Resource Guide to get started.

Access our Resources & Support page for more information.


My baby's privacy & information

We care about your privacy

The BC Early Hearing Program (BCEHP) in partnership with its service providers and the regional health authorities takes all reasonable measures to ensure that personal patient information is: 

  • treated in a confidential manner
  • only available to authorized staff for the purpose for which it is collected
  • stored securely

The BCEHP collects your baby’s personal information as authorized under section 26 (c) of the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. 

We collect and use this personal information for the following reasons:

  • to provide hearing assessment, intervention, early communication and support services
  • to determine how well we are meeting families’ needs
  • to improve our program and services
  • to help us improve our quality of care 
  • or research with consent or as permitted by law

Most often, information is collected by staff members at the hospital or centre where you receive services. Information is also received from other health facilities and practitioners that participate in your child’s care. 

BC Early Hearing Surveillance Tool (BEST)

This information is transferred electronically to BCEHP’s database system, called BC Early Hearing Surveillance Tool (BEST). Personal information is stored in a secure manner. The BCEHP uses an information system called BEST to provide the information link between hospital screening, community services and doctors, to support direct patient care, program management and research related to early hearing loss in BC. The system keeps personally identifiable health information about the services and treatments your baby receives.

 

BEST data is primarily used to provide care wherever that occurs to — in a home, in the community unit or in a hospital. Those participating in your care are allowed to see your personal information. Strict controls are maintained to ensure only those who are actively treating you have access and to only what they need.

Data that does not identify a specific baby is used for administration of the BCEHP improving services, education and research. Data may only be used for research if it meets strict legal requirements. All research requests are reviewed by the BCEHP Research Committee and the data steward before any data is disclosed. Data used in research and education projects supports positive changes to patient care and better health outcomes.

 

BCEHP has policy and processes in place to protect privacy. Anyone who accesses BEST data must protect your baby’s information (electronic or paper) from inappropriate or unauthorized use and disclosure. Measures include the use of frequently changed passwords, security for electronic transmission of data and physical security. Staff members sign confidentiality agreements and receive training and supervision to ensure they understand their responsibility. They must maintain the confidentiality of your information even if they no longer provide care to your baby.

 

BEST data is disclosed on a need-to-know basis for care of your baby or where permitted by law. Disclosures are based on the law, best practices and professional ethics. Disclosure for research is subject to specific law and policy.

Where the BCEHP purchases hearing aids for the child the audiologist at the local clinic will order the hearing aid(s) directly from the manufacturer. The audiologist will ask you to complete a consent form to disclose your child’s personal information (including date of birth, name and audiogram) to the manufacturer of the hearing aid. This information is needed to register and activate the hearing aid warranty and to help choose the best model of hearing aid for your child.

 

Information is kept for seven years beyond the time of last contact, or in the case of minors, for seven years beyond the time that the individual reaches their age of majority at 19 years.

 

Throughout your baby’s care your health-care team will communicate with you about the services your baby is receiving. You have the right to know what information is kept about your baby, to see it and to correct it. You can request information at any time.

 

If you have any questions about the collection, use or sharing of personal information by BCEHP, please contact the BC Early Hearing Program Director at Shaughnessy Building B208, 4480 Oak Street, Vancouver BC V6H 3V4.  Telephone: 604-875-2345 Ext 4848 or 1-866-612-2347

The BC Early Hearing Program (BCEHP) is a service of BC Children’s Hospital and the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA). The Program provides coordinated, accessible early hearing screening, identification and intervention and early communication support services for babies aged birth up to five years of age who are deaf or hard of hearing, and their families.

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SOURCE: BC Early Hearing Program ( )
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