Hearing In Children

The Importance Of Hearing In Children

Hearing is one of the most important senses in a developing child. An infant or a young child with undetected hearing loss is at risk for speech and language delay and general delays in auditory development. The sooner a hearing loss is detected the more successful it can be managed.

School aged children are also very dependent on their hearing. The auditory system is an important avenue for learning and if it is not functioning optimally, the child is at risk for academic delays.

Risk Factors For Hearing Loss In Children

(This is not an exhaustive list)

A child’s hearing should be tested if the following is present:

  • History of family members with hearing loss at a young age
  • Complications during pregnancy (e.g. Rubella, CMV)
  • Prematurity, hypoxia (lack of oxygen), exposure to ototoxic medication
  • History of chronic middle ear infections
  • Delayed speech and language development
  • History of mumps, measles or meningitis
  • General developmental delay

It is recommended that a baby’s hearing be screened just after birth.

Signs Of Possible Hearing Loss In Children

  • Baby does not startle to a loud sound, for example a door slamming (the startle response is typically only present up to the age of 4 months)
  • Older baby (around 4-7 months and older) does not turn head towards a sound
  • Baby stops babbling around the age of 6- 8 months, child does not imitate sounds 
    Older child: speech and language not age appropriate
  • Child does not appear to hear when being called from behind
  • Delayed speech and language development
  • Complaint from teacher that child does not appear to hear in class
  • Poor academic performance

“A child’s hearing can be tested at any age”


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