Previously, we discussed the causes of hearing loss in children and the necessary hearing screenings for diagnosis. This week, we plan to inform readers on the signs of hearing loss in children. It is especially important to be informed of these. Children do not always tell adults they cannot hear perfectly.

Signs that your baby may have hearing loss:

We mentioned last week that a child may not pass the hearing test but may have great hearing. Likewise, a child may pass the hearing test but their hearing hearingmay become impaired. It is important to be mindful of any changes.

Most infants react to sudden, loud sounds. For example, a large book falling flat may create a very loud thud. It is normal for an infant to cry or at least startle by “jumping”, or reacting, to the loud sound.

If your child does not react to a loud, sudden noise, this may be a sign of hearing loss. Of course, do not make a loud noise to test your child’s hearing as you may actually cause damage to their hearing. Instead, call their pediatrician for a hearing screening or referral to a hearing specialist at Orlando ENT Hearing Center.

Babies know their parent’s voice by three months of age. If they do not show preference to their mother or father’s voices, this may be a sign they cannot hear in detail. Similarly, a child of at least six months of age should turn their head towards the direction of a voice or noise.

If they do not turn their head, this is a sign they are not actually hearing sounds. Now by twelve months, enough time has passed that a child likely has had at least one ear infection. Some children have reoccurring ear infections causing hearing loss.

Lookout around once a child hits their first birthday. At twelve months of age, a child should be imitating sounds or producing small words. Mama, dada, and bye-bye are common short for one year-olds, but if they are not saying any at all, this may be a red flag.

Signs of toddler hearing loss:

As your child grows into their toddler years, the signs of hearing loss may evolve. A child that has limited, no speech, or poor speech may be a sign of hearing loss not just shyness. A hearing screening and speech therapy may be able to sort this out.

If your child fails to respond to conversation-level speech or answers inappropriately, make an appointment with a doctor. A child should engage in some sort of back-and-forth conversation if you ask a question with a change in your tone.

Even before a child reaches twelve months of age, a child may respond to their name. By twelve months, they should unless they have known developmental issues. If you child does not respond to their name by one year, be sure to discuss this with their doctors.

If a child is frequently inattentive, this is a sign of hearing loss. It may not be just the regular “terrible-twos”. Do not be quick to temper as this may be a sign your child needs further hearing screenings. Background noises may hinder your child’s ability to hear well, so pay attention to this area of hearing loss.

The same goes for teachers out there. Children in daycare or pre-schools should know that difficulty learning may stem from hearing issues. A child will not be capable of grasping a concept if they cannot hear the explanation clearly. This can be a simple yet unfortunate oversight.

Hearing aids and interventions for children:

There are surgeries and medical treatments for children with hearing loss. Hearing aids continue to be the main treatment for sensorineural hearing loss. Our outer hair cells not working properly cause the most common type of hearing loss.

Hearing aids overcome this problem by amplifying sounds. Orlando ENT Hearing Center does not fit children for hearing aids, but we can recommend great doctors that do.

Speak to Orlando ENT Hearing Center doctors about financial assistance options as insurance usually does not cover any or part of the costs. For children that have profound hearing loss and do not benefit from hearing aids, a cochlear implant may make a world of a difference.

A cochlear implant is a surgical treatment for hearing loss. It does not cure the hearing loss, but it does get placed into the inner ear to send sound directly to the hearing nerve. For parents that do not wish for their child to undergo surgery, there is an FM system.

The FM system is a specialized amplification device to help children in school settings. The system involves a microphone in which a teacher speaks into and a receiver held by the child. The receiver sends sounds to the ears or directly to a hearing aid.

We truly hope this week’s blog combined with last week’s has been helpful. Remain aware of the signs of hearing loss in children. Give your child all the tools necessary to succeed and thrive! Ask us where to find a doctor if your child shows any signs of hearing loss. Otherwise, any adults can be seen here at Orlando ENT Hearing Center!

Staff Writer

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