In Hawaii, early intervention services are provided by the Hawaii State Department of Health. Children under the age of 3 years who meet the criteria for sensory impairments or developmental delays may be eligible for services from the Early Intervention Section (EIS).
- Children with permanent hearing loss in one or both ears are automatically eligible for EIS services.
- Fluctuating conductive hearing loss does not meet automatic eligibility for EIS services unless the child meets other eligibility criteria.
Early intervention is key to optimal outcomes and should begin as soon as hearing loss is identified. EIS services, including family support and information, can begin even before a hearing aid is received.
Care Coordinators are the main point of contact for families receiving EIS services, and they assist in scheduling evaluations, hearing aid related services (not including purchase of hearing aids), and auditory habilitation appointments. Care Coordinators may also refer families to receive services from Deaf and Hard of Hearing specialists or speech-language pathologists.
EIS services are available on all islands and are provided at no cost to the family, regardless of family income. Audiological evaluations, auditory habilitation, and hearing aid related services, such as hearing aid dispensing fees, ongoing hearing aid checks, and ear molds, are covered by EIS for enrolled children. Families are encouraged (but not required) to allow providers to bill health insurance first, if the child has insurance coverage. Note: EIS does not cover surgery, sedation, medication, doctor visits, or the purchase of hearing aids.
For income eligible families, the Department of Health Children and Youth with Special Health Needs Section can assist families in obtaining services that are not provided by EIS. CYSHNS can also provide ongoing services when the child is discharged from EIS at age 3.