Congenital hearing loss is relatively frequent and has serious negative consequences if it is not diagnosed and treated during the first few months of life. Babies with hearing loss who are identified early and provided with appropriate intervention develop better language, cognitive, and social skills. As a result of improvements in screening equipment and procedures, newborn hearing screening programs have expanded rapidly in recent years, and almost 90% of all newborns are now screened for hearing loss before leaving the hospital. Because 50% or more of congenital hearing loss is due to genetic causes, providers of genetic services should play an increasingly important role in newborn hearing screening, diagnostic, and intervention services. For this to happen, parents, public health officials, and primary health care providers need to become better informed about the benefits of genetic services for children with hearing loss and their families. Providers of genetic services also need to become better informed about the current status of Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) programs and how they can contribute to continued improvement of these programs. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.