When you know the signs and symptoms, hearing loss in babies and children is more effectively diagnosed.
Hearing loss occurs when a part of the ear (inner, outer, middle, hearing nerve or auditory system) does not work in the usual way. Hearing loss can affect a child’s speech development, language skills, and social skills.
According to the CDC, you should talk to your doctor if you recognize any of these signs:
- No reaction to loud noises
- Baby does not turn to source of noise (by 6 months)
- Baby does not say single words (by age 1)
- Child’s speech is delayed or unclear
- Child often says, “Huh?” or seem to ignore you
- Child turns volume up too high
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends referencing a hearing developmental milestone checklist like this one.
Hearing tests for babies and children are quick and routine.
Babies should received a test before they are one month old- it often occurs when the infant is still in the hospital.
Children should have a hearing test done before entering school and whenever there is cause for concern.
Treatment is unique for each family and person. Some families benefit from alternative communication like sign language. Others rely on technology like hearing aids or cochlear implants. Family support groups and medicine or surgery can also help treat hearing loss.
The SCCAA Community Actions Pathway HUB is an available resource for pregnant and new mothers in need of support, education, and community services. For more information on hearing impaired babies and children check out https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/hearingloss/.