People of all ages from across the state of Delaware who suffer from hearing loss or anything related to it could soon benefit from two bills signed into law on Friday.
However, the two bills address two separate issues. The first one, House Bill 384 focuses on infant screenings that would require hospitals and audiologists to report hearing screenings/evaluations to health officials. Meanwhile Senate Bill 248 provides the hearing impaired with telecommunications service for analog communications devices.
Whatever the case, Gov. Jack Markell, (D-Del.), says both of the bills were necessary.
“For our youngest population, we are helping to strengthen Delaware’s hearing screening law and early intervention services. For those who currently experience deafness, hearing loss or speech disabilities, we are greatly improving their ability to communicate easily and effectively with others,” said Gov. Markell.
Meanwhile HB 384 hits close to home to Rep. Quinn Johnson, D-Middletown, who say it helps allow Delaware to continue to receive federal funding to run the newborn hearing screening process.
“As a father of a deaf child who did not have the new born screening provided at the time he was born, it means a lot to be able to help all future families of deaf and hard of hearing children start down the path of information gathering and education at a much earlier time than my family was able to do,” said Rep. Johnson, the sponsor of HB 384.
As for SB 248, it will create funding for services to help the deafand those with speech disabilities. This is right on time since Delaware is the only state that does not provide the telecommunications service for analog communications devices.
“This bill addresses a long-neglected need among Delawareans who are deaf, hearing impaired, or speech impaired,” said Sen. Karen Peterson, D-Stanton who sponsored SB 248. “It provides real-time captioned telephone services for those who do not have internet access.