During the first years of your child’s life, communication can be tricky while they develop language skills and learns the words they need to tell you how they feel. This often leaves you guessing and turning to a bit of detective work to figure out whether something is amiss with their development or health.
When it comes to hearing loss — 2-3 children out of every 1,000 in the United States are born with detectable hearing loss — we want to take some of that guesswork out of the equation.
The team here at Advanced ENT & Allergy, including Dr. Timothy Queen, and Nancy Gibson, FNP-C, specializes in pediatric ENT and audiology services, and we know how difficult it can be to identify issues like hearing loss in young kids. The information below will help you understand and recognize hearing problems in kids.
Hearing loss in babies
Most newborn babies are tested for hearing loss before leaving the hospital, but these tests aren’t always 100% accurate.
Up until age 1, there are a few characteristics of infant hearing loss you can watch for, including:
- No reaction to loud noises
- Not turning their head when you call them
- Tracking far more with their eyes than with their ears
- Hearing certain sounds, but not all sounds
- Not learning words before age 1, such as mama, dada, dog, etc.
During the first year of their life, infants process a lot in the world around them, so occasional issues with not responding to their names don’t necessarily cause concern. Patterns of these behaviors, however, can be problematic and might signal some issues with their hearing.
Hearing loss in kids
After age 1 and until age 5, detecting hearing loss in children can still be challenging. Kids with unidentified hearing loss can learn to adapt as they grow, making it harder to identify a problem.
There are some warning flags, starting with speech and language development. If your child struggles, they may not develop language skills well and can mispronounce words. They may become quiet and less communicative to avoid embarrassment or corrections, and some children with hearing loss speak loudly.
You might also notice other behaviors, such as turning your head to one side when trying to listen. They might also need to concentrate when someone is talking to them, and they might focus on that person’s mouth.
Another sign of hearing loss in children is asking for more volume when watching a video or listening to music. They may also say “huh?” a lot or ask you to repeat yourself.
You know your child best, and if you suspect that something just isn’t right with their hearing, we urge you to follow your instinct and bring them in so we can run a few simple tests.
To get started, please contact our office in Newport News, Virginia, to schedule a pediatric audiology consultation today.