Babies whose families possess multiple marginalized identities are at-risk for being late or lost to follow-up although there is a universal effort to screen and treat hearing loss in babies as part of state Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) programs. Lack of timely follow-up puts young children at risk for delays in language acquisition, social skills, cognitive development, and school success. This qualitative study explored barriers to follow-up audiological care in at-risk families in New Jersey. Using thematic analysis, this research uncovered two major findings: 1) communication normalizes failed screenings, and 2) parents need clearer and more in-depth information. Health care social workers are well-suited to address these challenges due to their training in integrated social work practice, which can help them understand the complex interplay between individuals and their environments. In doing so social workers can improve access to needed services and promote health equity.
- Infant hearing
- social determinants of health