For most babies and young children, the sound of their parents’ voices is a major source of calm and comfort. However, hearing-impaired children experience the world differently, which can impact their development. Fortunately for parents, there are signs that your child may have a hearing loss you can research, so you can give them the help they need to treat their hearing loss or help them navigate the world with different abilities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hearing loss can happen at any time in your life. However, because your child’s brain, speech, and social development can be affected by their ability to hear, it’s important to identify hearing problems as early as possible. According to Babysfirsttest.org, as many as three in every 1,000 babies born in the United States have some degree of hearing lossthat’s why they recommend that all babies get a hearing screening within 24 hours of birth.
Even if a baby passes their newborn screening, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), they may still have or develop hearing loss later, due to infection or injury. It is therefore important that you pay attention to how they interact with you and, more specifically, the things you say. If your baby doesn’t seem to notice you’re there until you appear, or if your toddler doesn’t seem to listen when you call their name, it could be a sign of hearing loss. The same site notes that if you suspect your child has hearing loss, you should call their doctor as soon as possible. For many children with hearing loss, treatments are available to help your child hear and/or develop language skills, including hearing aids, tubes and cochlear implants. And for children with incurable hearing lossit is important that they access services early to learn how to communicate with their world without sound.