Knowing the Warning Signs of Hearing Loss in Children

Children usually tell us when something is wrong. Babies can cry, toddlers can point, and children can explain to us what is wrong. But just because something isn’t painful to our children does not mean that there is not something seriously wrong – especially when it comes to hearing loss. Many times, because they are unable to explain what is wrong to us, hearing loss in children goes undiagnosed until the age of 2. In some cases, medical technology allows us to treat hearing loss with hearing aids in children as young as just one month old. But without awareness, the technology and treatment is meaningless and children will suffer for longer than they need to.

So what are the warnings signs? Doctors can easily explain the causes and the effects of hearing loss in children, but as parents, you need to be able to read the warnings signs early and bring any concerns to a trusted audiologist who can assess your child. The earlier the hearing loss is detected, the earlier treatment can begin and hopefully will help your child with their development and life skills. We encourage parents to pay attention to the following symptoms outlined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC):

Signs in Babies

Does not startle at loud noises or react to clapping or whistling.

Does not turn to the source of a sound (person or toy) or recognize it after 6 months of age.

Does not say single words, such as “dada” or “mama” by 1 year of age.

Turns head when he or she sees you but not if you only call out his or her name. This sometimes is mistaken for not paying attention or just ignoring, but could be the result of a partial or complete hearing loss.

Seems to hear some sounds or words but not others.

Signs in Children

Speech is delayed.

Speech is not clear.

Does not follow directions. This sometimes is mistaken for not paying attention or just ignoring, but could be the result of a partial or complete hearing loss.

Often says, “Huh?” or asks someone to repeat themselves.

Turns the TV volume up too high.

Early treatment and recognition is the key because hearing loss can have devastating effects on the development of a child. For example, hearing loss can many aspects of childhood development and growth; social skills, attention, following directions, communication, language development, and more. According to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, “Children learn to communicate by imitating the sounds they hear. If they have a hearing loss that is undetected and untreated, they can miss much of the speech and language around them. This results in delayed speech/language development, social problems and academic difficulties.” When you know the warning signs and can have a hearing doctor or audiologist assess your child, you may save them months or maybe even years of developmental delays.  Contact us today if you think your child suffers from a form of hearing loss and could benefit from hearing aids, hearing tests, or any other audiological needs. We can help your children begin enjoying the many beautiful and inspiring sounds in life starting now.


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