Hearing loss impacts people of every age. In fact, for every 1,000 babies born, 2 to 3 will be deaf or have some type of hearing impairment according to the National Institutes of Health. During childhood, hearing loss may arise from injury, disease, exposure to loud noises, or physical abnormalities in the ear. Whatever the cause, testing hearing early is key, because the sooner any hearing problems are detected, the better the child’s chances of attaining their full educational and developmental potential.

Luckily, the most common signs of hearing loss in children are well documented for parents and caregivers to look for. In babies, the key thing to look for is how the infant reacts – or doesn’t react – to sounds. Observe whether the child is startled by loud noises and turns toward the source of the sound. Also look for failure to turn the head when you call her name or reacting to some sounds and not others.

Children with otitis media may also pull or rub at their ears, become listless or inattentive, have fevers, complain of ear pain, often do not understand instructions, and may ask for the TV to be played louder. Watch how your child interacts with others. Notice if they say “what?” or “huh?” frequently. Also note if they seem to watch the face of the speaker very carefully. Hearing loss is a serious concern. Even mild hearing loss can lead to delays in language and speech development and manifest in poor school performance.

These problems are why many states have programs that guarantee early hearing testing in children. The tests are painless, and can be performed even on babies. Children are never too young to have their hearing tested, because the sooner hearing problems are identified, the sooner they can be corrected. We would be happy to arrange for a hearing screening for your child or children, and if any hearing problems are found, we have the expertise and resources to help solve them.

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