Early diagnosis is key when determining your child’s ability to hear, but knowing the signs for yourself is also critical. Here, the child education and development specialists at Celebree Learning Centers detail the warning signs that may show whether your child is having a difficulty with their hearing.
Newborn hearing and vision screening is mandatory in Maryland, and as such many newborns with genetic hearing concerns are diagnosed quickly and early on. This has greatly reduced the rate of children with undiagnosed hearing concerns, but those who choose at-home or other alternative birth sites may be at a higher risk of not having their children screened. Furthermore, hearing issues can also develop beyond the newborn stage, and children who regularly are surrounded by loud noises—such as from toys or their environment—are particularly susceptible to noise-induced hearing loss. Therefore, it is vital to know the developmental stages of hearing, to see if your child is not meeting these milestones.
Newborn to Three Months: Reacts to Loud Sounds
Loud noises should startle your baby, and may make them cry or flail their arms and legs. The sound of a parent or a typical caregiver should be able to soothe them after becoming upset. If your baby does not react to loud noises, and cannot be consoled by the sound of familiar voices after hearing a loud noise, they may have abnormal hearing development.
Three to Six Months: Turns in the Direction of Noises or Familiar Voices
At this stage, children should react to the sound of familiar voices, and that of their other parent or close caretaker. When infants at this age hear a sound, they should try to move their eyes and head in its direction. Talk to your child often to ensure they are familiar with the sound of your voice. Children at this age should also be babbling and making noises as their first attempts at language. Seek medical advice if infants seem uninterested by sounds, as they may have abnormal hearing development.
Six to Ten Months: Responds to Name and Tries to Imitate Other Voices
A child at this age will respond to their own name, and should begin matching actual sounds made by adults—usually vowel sounds, as these are the easiest to form. They should continue to be interested by speech and sounds, and it is important to allow them to hear a variety of words and noises. Children who do not respond to their name after being exposed to it continually may have blocked ear canals—a common and easily treatable condition—or other hearing concerns.
Ten to Eighteen Months: Understands Simple Sentences and Can Identify Objects
Children go through rapid changes at this stage, and will go from pointing at familiar objects and understanding simple sentences to speaking a few single words and understanding basic directions. Children at this age should be read to, spoken to and told stories often to help cement their understanding of language. A child who struggles to understand simple sentences or form very basic words should be evaluated by a doctor.
Preschool and Beyond: Continuously Developing Language and Verbal Skills
Older children should be continuously developing their language and verbal skills. They should also be capable of following directions. A child who talks in an excessively loud voice, struggles to follow directions, answer simple questions or has difficulty forming words may be struggling with their hearing, and should be seen by a doctor or audiologist. The sooner a child’s hearing is evaluated, the sooner a solution can be determined and implemented to allow the child their full hearing faculties.
Celebree Learning Centers is Dedicated to Healthy Child Development
At Celebree, we know that a child’s physical and educational development are closely linked, and we support all parent efforts to ensure their child is developing healthily. A large part of ensuring a child’s healthy development is creating a community of resources and educators who can bring fact-based solutions to the child’s development and education. To learn more about how the educators at Celebree Learning Centers can help your child, contact us today.