According to the Hearing Health Foundation, newborns are screened for hearing loss at birth, and due to a series of tests performed on most newborns today, 80 to 90 percent of children who are born with little or no hearing are identified from the outset. Many parents may think they’re out of the woods if their newborn passes these tests. After all, gradual hearing loss is something that only affects the elderly, right? Here are the cheap discount hearing aids in 2022.
That is certainly not the case. Some children begin to gradually lose their hearing, and if you notice any of the following four signs, you may need the help of an audiologist. The list below offers insight into what behaviors parents may notice from infancy to later childhood.
Sign 1: Your Child Doesn’t Startle at Loud Sounds
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists this as one of the first signs that young infants are not hearing enough or at all. In the 1995 movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” one of the big moments in the movie is when the mother, played by Glenne Headly, sees her son sleeping through a loud fire truck passing by in a parade that is upsetting all of the other children around her. It’s at this point she begins to suspect something may be impacting her son’s hearing.
If you notice that noises that startle you or others around you don’t seem to phase your child, it may be worth attempting to elicit some reaction by manufacturing startling sounds in a safe manner, such as putting a loud phone alarm behind your child as they play, and if the child still doesn’t respond, it would be worth mentioning to your child’s doctor. Perhaps your baby just has nerves of steel, but it’s better to check to make sure.
Sign 2: Your Child May Not Turn Her or His Head Towards Familiar Sounds
However, fear or startling isn’t the only way to know if your infant is having trouble hearing. As babies develop and grow, they begin to respond to familiar sounds by turning their heads toward that sound. If you call your child’s name without them being able to see you, and you notice they don’t respond to your voice but do when you enter their line of sight, that could be an indication that they aren’t picking up on auditory cues in their environment. Again, this is a good sign to take your child to the doctor to have more intensive tests performed. Similarly, children who show little interest in musical or noise-intensive television shows geared towards children, it may be due to the fact that they’re not able to hear those specially designed soundtracks.
Some parents may be frustrated when speaking to their children and feel as though the child just isn’t paying attention, and while that certainly happens, it may be the case where the child simply can’t hear what you’re saying. Obviously, this would lead to friction between parents and children, so addressing the issue with your pediatrician will help reduce those frustrations and address the root of the problem, perhaps referring you to a hearing specialist if signs indicate that there is hearing loss present.
Sign 3: Your Child Has Delayed or Absent Speech Development
As children get older, they begin to make noises that are imitations of what they hear around them. This begins with babbling and progresses to single words like “mama” or “dada,” but children who struggle with hearing loss may also have speech delays. Since a lot of language is formed naturally by children attempting to replicate the sounds that people make towards them, it stands to reason that children who are missing out on those interactions will struggle to develop that skill for themselves.
Of course, there are many reasons why speech may be delayed, and if you’re noticing that your child is falling behind in this area, your child’s doctor will be able to tell you if hearing loss could be a contributing factor or if you need to explore other reasons for the delay.
Sign 4: Your Child’s Grades Fall/Teacher Notes Child Doesn’t Respond in the Class
An article on the consumer website Healthy Hearing explains that older children may develop new behaviors if they begin to develop hearing loss, and a common side effect of a loss of hearing is decreased performance in the classroom.
When children can’t hear what the teacher is saying, it will be difficult for them to retain the information since they’re simply not getting access to it in the same way as the other children do. They may also develop behavioral issues in the classroom, which could be from a lack of following instructions (that they’re unaware of) or acting out of boredom since they’re not engaged with the class material.
If you’re noticing lower scores from your child, coupled with other signs such as excessively loud volume or squinting during face-to-face interactions (trying to read body language/nonverbal cues), it could definitely be worth speaking with your child’s teacher to see if she or he has any suspicions that your child’s hearing may be impacted. You can use hearing aid devices for clear hearing.
Causes of hearing impairment in children develop at different rates and can be permanent, progressive, or temporary. Knowing the signs and understanding what to look for can help parents ensure that if their child does begin to have some hearing loss that they’re able to act quickly in order to preserve hearing or take steps to restore hearing, if possible.
However, this can be a scary time for parents, but quick detection will help parents understand this complex issue and reach the best outcomes possible for any given situation.