Your child's hearing is very important. It does more than just let them hear what's going on, their hearing helps them learn how to speak and stay connected to the world. Children who have hearing loss also end up with speech delays. They just can't hear what you are saying to them, or it comes through very garbled. As your child gets older, they may start to feel much more isolated because they can't hear what's going on. They may also have a hard time in school. It can be very frustrating to both you and your child. Knowing the signs of hearing loss can help you find out what's going before it gets too bad. The earlier you can get the hearing loss treated, the better off your child is going to be.
Signs of Hearing Loss
- Does not react to loud or surprise noises: Your child may be able to tune out some noises, it's an ability that most people have. However, very loud noises, like sirens or smoke alarms, or surprise noises like balloons popping are much harder to tune out. If your child doesn't react to those things, that can be a clear warning sign.
- Seems to ignore you: Even toddlers will ignore their parents at some point. However, if it happens the majority of the time, it may not just be a stubborn child and a sign that they can't hear you or can't hear you well.
- Focuses on your face when you are talking: If your child can't hear what you are saying clearly, they will have to depend on other cues to figure out what is going on. The best cue they can get is what your face is doing. An older child may also have developed some lipreading skills, so they can use that as a non-verbal cue as well.
- Starts talking loudly: One thing that people who have hearing loss start to do is speak louder. There are a couple of reasons for that. One is that they can't always tell how loudly they are speaking. The other is that speaking loudly is the only way that they can hear themselves. If you tell your child that they aren't being loud or yelling every time you tell them that they are, they may have some hearing loss. In general, the louder they speak, the more severe the hearing loss is.
If your child has any of these signs, you should take them to see their pediatrician. The doctor can do a preliminary screening. The problems could be as simple as a wax build up in their ears, or fluid behind the eardrums. Both of those things have quick and easy fixes. If their doctor doesn't find problems like that, they will be able to refer you to an audiologist, like the ones found at AVC Hearing Aid Center, who will be able to do a more thorough screening and diagnose the problem. They will also be able to tell you what can be done to help your child hear better.