Hearing is essential to a child’s development. When hearing loss goes unaddressed, it can delay important milestones, like language and communication, and can affect vital life skills like social development and learning. The first step in helping your child live with hearing loss is learning to identify the problem.
Your child makes significant developments during the first three years of age. Hearing loss can delay language development during this critical period of learning, which can also affect acquiring other skills, as they may have trouble understanding verbal instructions.
Although every child learns and develops differently and at their own pace, as a parent or guardian, you can look for a few signs that your child may have potential hearing loss.
Signs of hearing loss for children under 6 months of age
It can be difficult to identify hearing loss in infants at such a young age, especially when it’s mild. However, there are some signs to look out for. Your child may have hearing loss if he or she does not:
- Respond to sound and music
- Turn their eyes in the direction of a sound
- Recognize and respond to your voice
- Notice toys that make sounds
- Make different vocalizations when happy or upset
Signs of hearing loss for children up to 1 year old
When a child turns one, he or she typically will have reached several developmental milestones. Regarding their hearing, they should now be able to:
- Respond to their name
- Turn and look in the direction of sound
- Understand and respond to simple words such as “no,” “more?,” “up,” etc.
- Listen to songs and stories for short periods
- Recognize familiar voices / music / sounds
- Play peek-a-boo or similar games
- Make simple sounds or say their first words
Signs of hearing loss for children up to 2 years old
Once a child reaches the age of two, he or she has been experimenting a lot, physically and verbally. It could be an indication of hearing loss if by your child’s second birthday they are not yet able to:
- Use and understand a variety of new words
- Name items in books or in everyday life
- Follow simple instructions such as “pick up the toy,” “go to Mommy” or “point at the dog”
- Recognize body parts or pictures in books when you name them
- Ask and respond to simple questions like “What is that?,” “Who is that?” and “Where’s Daddy?”
- Put words together like “Daddy, up,” or “Want cookie”
Signs of hearing loss for children up to 3 years old
A child is now walking (or running) around and expressing their personality through words. At this age, it can be an indication of hearing loss if your child still cannot:
- Put together small sentences
- Understand opposites such as big/small, up/down, stop/go
- Talk and be understood by people who know them
- Ask and understand “Why?”
- Follow increasingly complicated directions such as “Go to your room and grab the blanket”
- Learn and understand new words quickly
If you think your child may be experiencing hearing loss, starting their journey toward better hearing health right now can give them the best chance to thrive in life. And the first step is talking to a hearing care professional.
To learn more about Oticon hearing aids for children, talk to a hearing care provider in your area today.