Opening in 1987, PEI began as a research and pediatric cochlear implant program under the direction of Dr. Karl L. Horn. PEI was selected as one of the first FDA approved clinical trial sites for pediatric cochlear implantation. In 1989, Dr. Horn and PEI started a speech therapy program and an oral school to teach deaf children with cochlear implants and hearing aids to listen and speak. Today, PEI is the premier center for the early identification, early intervention and education of children with hearing loss.

PEI is a FIT funded program. The FIT, Family Infant Toddler Program, is a statewide program that provides early intervention services to infants and toddlers who have or are at risk for developmental delays and their families in New Mexico. Early intervention provides activities and strategies for families to use to promote their child's development throughout the day.