Identifying signs of hearing loss early in babies and children
For children, being able to hear well is important as it is a critical factor for speech and language development, learning and communication. Luckily in New Zealand there is Universal New Born Hearing Screening (UNHSEIP) programme in place so babies whom are born with hearing loss can be detected and managed quickly so there weren’t be any delays with their developments. Once they have passed the hearing screening it is parents’ role to ensure their children’s hearing is maintained for continued learning through listening.
It can be difficult to know for sure when your child has hearing loss. The signs and symptoms of hearing loss can be quite different for each child and if you have doubt it probably is best to visit local audiologist for hearing assessment.
Here are some signs of babies and children with hearing loss
Signs in Babies
· Doesn’t startle at loud noises.
· Seems to hear some sounds but not others.
· Does not turn to the source of a sound after 6 months of age.
· Does not say single words, such as “dada” or “mama” by 1 year of age.
Signs in Children
· Seems to hear fine some of the time and then not respond at other times
· Wants the TV volume loud
· Asks to repeat or says "What?" more often
· Moves one ear forward when listening, or he complains that he can only hear out of his "good ear"
· Academic grades fall or their teacher notes that they do not seem to hear or respond as well in the classroom as other children.
· Looks at other children in class to know what teacher has instructed the class to do.
· Says that they didn't hear you.
· It seems, your child is just not paying attention.
· Starts to speak more loudly than previously.
· Looks at you intensely when you speak to them, looking for visual cues for interpreting speech.
Some of the sings may seem selective hearing and due to not paying attention, but I have seen many times the lack of hearing was due to unidentified hearing loss.
Visiting audiology clinic does not require a referral from a GP, and if you have any doubts on your children’s hearing it is best to get the assessment done quickly for good management of hearing loss.