It’s good practice for every child to have a hearing test. In the United States, it’s required for newborns before they leave the hospital or encouraged by three months of age if they were not born at the hospital. Hearing problems can show up at any age, however. If that happens, here are several signs that your child may need a hearing test by a Red Bluff audiologist.
Normal Hearing Development for Babies
Children demonstrate certain signs of healthy hearing at each stage. If your child is not doing these things, it could mean there is a hearing problem.
From 0 to 4 months, your baby should stir or startle at loud sounds, calm down when he or she hears a familiar voice, or coo when you talk to her. From 4 to 9 months, a baby will look in the direction that sounds are coming from, smile when someone talks to him, make sounds, and respond to simple communications.
From 9 to 15 months, a baby should respond to her name, try out a lot of different sounds, start saying da-da or ma-ma, repeat sounds, and respond to simple commands or questions. Then from 15 to 24 months, a child should be listening to songs and stories and interacting with them; pointing to and naming objects, animals, and body parts; saying phrases; and following instructions.
Hearing Problem Indicators for Older Children
If an older child (preschool age or older) shows signs of hearing loss, you might notice that your child is:
- not responding to you when you talk to him/her.
- seeming to follow things by sight instead of sound (i.e. following others’ actions).
- turning up the volume on devices.
- slow to develop speech.
- having trouble talking or sounding different than other children his age.
- having trouble hearing people when they talk to him.
- having problems at school.
- complaining of head noises or ear pain.
Two out of every 100 children under the age of 18 have experienced hearing loss. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has established the Early Hearing and Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program to ensure that newborns are screened for hearing problems. If they don’t pass the hearing test, ASHA recommends that they be enrolled in an early intervention program by six months old.
Early intervention makes it possible for your child to be fitted with hearing aids so he or she can stay on schedule with speech, language, social, and learning development. When a child’s hearing loss is addressed early, he or she is able to stay on par with peers. Fortunately, there are very few hearing problems that can’t be solved with hearing aids. That’s why it’s in your child’s best interests to address it as soon as you notice a problem.
You want your child to grow up with the best chance at life. Hearing is a big part of that. It’s easy and affordable to schedule a hearing test with a Red Bluff audiologist. If you’re wondering about your child’s hearing, don’t delay another day.