RFA-2019-01 Costs of Educating Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children

DRDC Solicitation #:  RFA-2019-01

POSTED:  01/18/2019

REVISED: 01/22/2019 – The project period was reduced to one year, instead of two.

Project Title: Impact of Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) on the Educational Costs and Placements of Hearing Impaired Children

Maximum Budget: Year 1: $138,375
(includes direct and indirect costs of applicant)
Awards will be based on merit and are subject to the availability of funding

Project period:  1 year

Anticipated Number of Awards:  up to 2

Project start date:  September 30, 2019

Application Due Date: March 4, 2019 by 8PM Eastern Time

How to Apply:  https://www.disabilityresearchcenter.com/research/application-instructions/

IMPORTANT! If you have questions about the RFA, please submit them to the DRDC here. We will consult with the CDC and provide  answers directly to applicants, usually within 2 days, and post all questions and answers within 24 hours of the resolution on the DRDC website here.  Please remember to check this page often.

Eligible Applicants. Proposals are invited from universities, research or health institutions, and non-profit organizations, which have or can gain access to the EHDI data that is collected/maintained at the Department of Health or Department of Education or another designated state agency. This opportunity is open to applicants from U.S. institutions only.

Center/Division goal(s) and thematic area priorities aligned with this research project. Ensuring that all newborns are screened and assessed for hearing loss and receive appropriate intervention.

Purpose. To study the overall impact of Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) on the academic setting or placement, and cost of educating Deaf or Hard of Hearing (D/HH) children.

Background. As part of the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Act of 2015, Congress authorized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to “study the costs and effectiveness of… Intervention programs, and systems”. The goal of all EHDI programs is to ensure that all newborns who are diagnosed with a hearing loss receive intervention as early as possible, preferably no later than six months of age. In recent literature, intervention at this young age in newborns with hearing loss has been shown to enable newborns with hearing loss to develop communication and language skill early.1,2

Since the passage of the EHDI Act in 2006 all states and territories and the District of Columbia have established EHDI programs that provide hearing screening and follow-up for all newborns. Many D/HH children, who have been identified by and benefited from the EHDI program, are now enrolled in school, but many questions remain, such as: Has EHDI impacted the academic placement of D/HH children? Has EHDI affected both the type of school in which D/HH children attend and the type of educational services they receive? What is the cost of educating D/HH children before and after EHDI programs became a widespread practice?

Research Goals and Objectives.  This funding is intended to explore the academic placements, educational services and the cost of educating D/HH children before and after the widespread adoption of EHDI in the United States. The collection and analysis of data regarding the usage of varying types of educational plans and approaches (e.g., Individualized Educational Plans (IEP), 504 Plans, mainstream approach to placement, special individualized services provided to D/HH students) will be helpful in understanding the educational landscape. Similarly, the estimated costs associated with the various approaches, as well as best estimates of the overall costs of educating D/HH children before and after EHDI programs were established, should be compared and adjusted for inflation.

Special requirements. To ensure that the study can be accomplished in 2 years and that a manuscript is prepared in collaboration with CDC for publication in the final year, applicants should consider the following:

  • Must have existing access or demonstrate that access can be quickly obtained to Part B educational records of D/HH children who have received intervention services
    • Shortly after diagnosis (that is by 6 months of age) when EHDI practice has been widely established in the state, AND
    • Before an EHDI program was established in the state.
  • D/HH children with additional co-morbidity can either be excluded or stratified as a sub-group.
  • Data should include variables that allow for control or stratification of D/HH children according to the type of hearing technology (hearing aids and cochlear implant) used.
  • Should have a plan for estimating inflation-adjusted costs of education before and after the widespread implementation of EHDI programs in the catchment area.

Successful applications must include the following:

  1. A project plan that includes a description of the study cohorts and type of data that will be collected or are readily available.
  2. An analysis plan that details how data will be stratified and analyzed.
  3. Timeline for data cleaning, compilation and analysis.
  4. Plan for submission of progress and final reports, conference presentation, manuscript preparation and publication.
  5. Detailed budget, including identification of any sub-contractors.
  6. Description of plans and IRB requirements and timeline regarding the protection of human subjects.

Definition of terms the study must use

  • Type of school or school placement can be defined as regular school where D/HH children are mainstreamed and educated with non D/HH children.
    • School of the deaf, either private or state school, is an educational setting where majority of the students are D/HH and educated by deaf teachers or teachers trained in deafness.
    • Inclusion or mainstream placement where the student is placed in a regular classroom with same age peers.
    • Resource room placement is when a student leaves a regular classroom for a designated time period to receive specialized instruction in language, reading, or math.
    • Self-contained classroom placement where the student is placed in a small controlled class with a special-education teacher.
  • Type of educational resources provided can include speech/language therapy or services, any form of aural/oral habilitation, or any educational remedial assistance, intervention or services.

Describe the potential public health impact of this opportunity

The anticipated impact from a successfully completed project will elucidate whether there have been educational cost savings associated with this public health effort and the effect of EHDI on the education of D/HH children.


  • Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) and Vocabulary of Children with Hearing Loss. Yoshinaga-Itano C, Sedey A, Wiggin M, Chung W, Pediatrics July, 2017. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2017/07/06/peds.2016-2964
  • Language outcomes in young children with mild to severe hearing loss. Tomblin JB, Harrison M, Ambrose SE, Walker EA, Oleson JJ, Moeller MP. Ear & Hearing. 2015;36(suppl. 1):76S–91S pmid:2673116