Most children with hearing problems can now be identified quickly and correctly because of universal hearing screening for infants. Hearing loss can be discovered in 80-90% of children with easy tests, allowing them to begin early intervention with the greatest potential outcomes for language development.

Even if your child passes the newborn screening at birth, genetic or progressive hearing loss may not manifest until the child is a toddler or older. It’s critical to recognize the indicators that your child may have a hearing loss as soon as possible so that the next steps may be taken: testing, supported by proper treatment and care.

Toddlers and Infants

The most prominent sign of a suspected hearing loss in a young kid is delayed or absent speech development. Detecting hearing loss in an infant or young child necessitates keeping an eye on developmental milestones. Early detection and treatment of hearing loss can allow your child’s speech and language development to be on a level with that of children who do not have a hearing loss. By the age of six months, your toddler should have a spoken vocabulary of 20 to 50 words.

Use the following milestones as a guide, and always consult your pediatrician or an audiologist if you have any concerns.

  • Three months: Your child understands your voice, coos and is terrified by abrupt, loud noises at the age of three months.
  • Six months: Your infant detects speech sounds and recognizable voices by the age of six months, turns his head toward intriguing sounds, plays with his own voice, and laughs. Your baby expresses pleasure and displeasure with their voice and conducts speechlike interactions with family.
  • Ten months: Your infant understands simple words like “Mommy,” “Daddy,” “no,” “bye-bye,” and his own name before the age of nine months. By the age of 10 months, your baby’s babbling should sound like speech, with single-syllable strings (“da-da-da-da”).
  • One year: One or more real, recognized spoken words appear after 12 months.
  • One-and-a-half years: Your toddler should be able to grasp simple phrases, retrieve familiar objects, and point to body parts on command by the age of 18 months (without gestures). Your child has a spoken language of 20-50 words and phrases (“all done,” “go out,” “Mommy up”) and is learning new words on a weekly basis.
  • Two years: Your toddler’s verbal vocabulary should be 200-300 words by the age of 24 months, and short phrases should be able to be said. Adults who do not spend everyday contact with your youngster can grasp his or her words. While being read to, your child should be able to sit and listen.

Hearing Loss in Older Children

Hearing loss is more difficult to detect in children who have developed speaking skills, since they may have established coping mechanisms unconsciously to compensate for their loss. Keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • Acquired hearing loss can occur months or years after birth for a variety of reasons. You may notice indications such as a drop in school grades.
  • Your youngster appears to hear fine at times but does not respond to others.
  • Your child wants the television to be turned up louder than the rest of the household.
  • “What?” or “huh?” says your child. He did it a lot more than he used to.
  • When listening, your youngster may move one ear forward or claim that he can only hear with his “good ear.”
  • Your child’s grades are dropping, and his teacher has noticed that he doesn’t seem to hear or respond in class.
  • Your child claims he didn’t hear what you said. Many parents believe their children are not paying attention when, in fact, they may have an undiagnosed hearing loss.
  • It appears that your child is simply oblivious to what is going on around him.
  • Your child begins to speak louder than he or she did previously.
  • When you speak to your child, he stares at you closely. He can be reliant on visual clues.
  • You simply have a gut feeling. Sometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint the source of your problem.

Acquired hearing loss can occur months or years after birth for a variety of reasons. Hearing loss in children with no evident risk factors (such as early birth) is almost always caused by genetics. If you have any concerns, talk to your pediatrician about getting a referral to an audiologist, a practitioner who is highly trained to detect hearing loss in children of all ages.

It can be difficult to recognize hearing loss in children, especially if they have grown to adapt to the way they hear. If you have any concerns or would like to know more, get in touch with Your Hearing Connection at 626-538-9920.

Tags: pediatric hearing loss