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Infant Hearing Program

Children’s Centre Thunder Bay is the lead agency and the coordinator of the Infant Hearing program in the Thunder Bay region.

There are three components of this program, including:

  • A universal neonatal screening of all infants born in the District of Thunder Bay
  • Audiology services
  • Communication development for those children identified with permanent hearing loss between birth and 6 years of age.

This program provides services with funding from the Ministry of Children, Community and Services at no additional cost to families. Infants and children up to 6 years of age are eligible to receive these services.

All infants born in the District of Thunder Bay receive:

Stage 1 Screening

Parents are offered a hearing screening for their infant in the hospital before being discharged following birth. If this does not occur (e.g. the child is discharged prior to screening, or birth occurs at home or in another location), parents will be contacted to set up a hearing screening at a community site.

Stage 2 Screening

A second hearing screening is performed on infants who receive a referral as a result of the first hearing screening.

Audiology Services

If an infant has been referred following the first two hearing screenings, an appointment with an audiologist will be made for further testing. An assessment will provide more in-depth information than the previous screenings, and may require multiple visits.

Expanded Hearing Screen

The expanded hearing screen includes both the hearing screen that happens in a hospital or community-based setting, and the hearing loss risk factor blood spot screen. The blood spot screen is performed by Newborn Screening Ontario on the dried blood spot (heel prick test) obtained by a child’s health care provider at birth. If a child has been recommended to see an Infant Hearing Program Audiologist for a hearing assessment, the hearing loss risk factor blood spot test will be performed with parental consent.

For additional information about the hearing loss risk factor blood spot screen, please

visit Newborn Screening Ontario.

For more information, or to make a referral for services, please call the Access Network at 1-855-486-5037, or Children's Centre Thunder Bay at 807-343-5000.

To learn more about the Infant Hearing Program, please visit the website for the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services.