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When Should You Have Your Child’s Hearing Checked?

December 16, 2020

Smiling little african girl with mid age ear specialist; blog: When Should You Have Your Child's Hearing Checked?

Hearing loss can occur when any part of the ear hasn’t developed or is not functioning properly. For children experiencing hearing loss, it can affect the development of their speech, language, and social skills. The sooner you notice your child’s hearing issues and have them treated, the less impact it will have on their development.

Here are the types of hearing loss your child may suffer from and the signs that your child may need to have their hearing checked.

Causes and Types of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can occur at any age, though there are certain factors that increase the risk in babies and children. Hearing loss is a common birth defect that affects 1 to 3 of every 1,000 babies, but there are other risk factors that can contribute to hearing loss. In addition to genetic causes, hearing loss may be the result of:

  • Premature birth
  • A stay in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit)
  • Pregnancy or birth complications
  • Frequent ear infections
  • Exposure to very loud noises
  • Infections such as meningitis 

There are 3 main types of hearing loss that may affect your child: 

  • Conductive: caused by something blocking the transmission of sound into the ear. Conductive hearing loss can typically be treated. 
  • Sensorineural: caused by a structural issue in the ear or the nerves that control hearing, with impacts ranging from mild to severe. Sensorineural hearing loss may show up at birth or later in life and is usually permanent. 
  • Mixed: refers to a combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.

7 Signs Your Child Should Have Their Hearing Checked

Normal hearing is essential to children’s language, social, and cognitive development. If you notice your child isn’t reaching certain milestones typical of their age, it may be a sign that their hearing is affected. 

Here are some of the signs that your child should have their hearing checked:

  1. Your baby isn’t startled by sudden noises. If your baby doesn’t startle or react to loud, sudden noises, it may be a sign they couldn’t hear it. 
  1. Your baby doesn’t turn to the source of a sound. By the time an infant is around 6 months old, they should be turning to the source of a sound when they hear something. 
  1. Your child has limited, delayed, or unclear speech. If your child isn’t reaching certain speech milestones, it may be a sign of hearing loss. By a year, babies should be using single words like “mama” and “dada” to communicate. You can find more symptoms of hearing loss in babies and speech milestones they should be reaching here

In toddlers and school-age children with hearing loss, you may notice that your child doesn’t speak like other children their age, has speech delays, or issues with articulation. They may also begin to speak more loudly than normal.

  1. Your child seems inattentive. Children with hearing loss often don’t follow instructions because they don’t hear them, but some parents may interpret this as inattentiveness. 
  1. Your child moves one ear forward when listening. Hearing loss does not always affect both ears. Your child leaning one ear forward or turning their head to the side in order to use their “good ear” may be a sign of hearing loss in the other ear. 
  1. Your child turns the TV or other devices’ volume up too high. If your child uses headphones, be sure to pay attention to the volume and ensure it isn’t too loud. 
  1. Your child’s grades fall. Children can begin falling behind in school for a number of reasons, including not being able to hear their teachers due to hearing loss.

If you notice your child exhibiting any of the symptoms above, and especially if they are exhibiting multiple signs, it may be time to have their hearing checked. Your child’s pediatrician can perform hearing tests and, if necessary, determine the best course of treatment for your child.

Contact Holly Springs Pediatrics

Have questions about getting your child’s hearing checked? Contact your pediatrician. Holly Springs Pediatrics is committed to providing quality care to your kids at all times. That includes being there in uncertain times. We will always prioritize the health and safety of your family. Call our Holly Springs, NC pediatric office at (919) 249-4700 to schedule an appointment or talk to a staff member.