Hearing Problems in Children – Warning Signs to Look For

Based on data from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), out of every 1,000 children in the US, 2 to 3 are born deaf or with impaired hearing. As childhood progresses, hearing loss may occur from physical injury, disease, very loud noises, or structural abnormalities in the structure of the ear. Early hearing screenings are important to detect hearing loss, because the sooner it is found, the greater the child’s chances to develop their full potential.

As a parent, there are many signs of hearing problems that you should be watchful for. When your child is still a baby, such signs include a failure to be startled by loud noises, a failure to turn the head to face you when you call his or her name, being able to hear some sounds and not others, and not turning toward the source of a sound after the age of 6 months.

Signs of otitis media include rubbing or pulling at their ears, having fevers or earaches, becoming inattentive or listless, failing to understand instructions, and asking for the TV to be turned up louder. Other warning signs are if your child uses the words “huh?” or “what?” many times a day, has difficulty locating the source of sounds, or watches people’s faces carefully as they are speaking. Even mild hearing loss is serious, because as the children grow it can lead to delays in language and speech development, learning difficulties in school, and emotional or behavioral problems.

To aid in early detection, many states have mandatory early hearing screenings. These are painless tests often performed at the hospital after birth or in public schools. Children are never too young to have their hearing tested, because the sooner hearing problems are identified, the sooner they can be corrected. If your child has never had a hearing test, or you have observed any of the warning signs listed above, give us a call to schedule a hearing test.

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