Children rely a lot on their hearing when learning new things. If hearing loss is not detected early, it can result in weaker speech/language skills, reading difficulty, and trouble with social skills in the future.
While most babies are born with perfect hearing, there is a chance that your child is affected by partial or full hearing loss. It is also crucial to identify and remedy problems as early as possible. Better to be safe than sorry, as they say.
How do I know if my baby has a hearing problem?
Hospitals will usually screen babies for hearing problems, among others, before declaring him or her safe to take home. However, hearing loss might develop in the later months.
Here’s a quick guide on what to expect if your baby has hearing problems:
- doesn’t startle in response to sudden loud noises
- doesn’t respond to sounds, music, or voices
- isn’t soothed by soft sounds
- doesn’t move or wake up at the sound of voices or nearby noises when sleeping in a quiet place
- doesn’t make vowel sounds like “ohh” even after 2 months
- doesn’t become quiet at the sound of familiar voices even after 2 months
- doesn’t turn his/her head or eyes toward a sound that can’t be seen
- doesn’t try to imitate sounds at around the 6-month mark
- hasn’t begun to babble
- seem to pay attention to vibrating noises (those that can be felt) but not those that can only be heard
- doesn’t say single words like “dada” or “mama” when they are 1 year old
- doesn’t pronounce different consonant sounds at the beginning of words when they are 1
- doesn’t understand words that are common in everyday speech like “shoe”, “bye-bye”, or “come here”
This list is by not means exhaustive and is only a quick guideline.
If you notice that your baby has the above symptoms, bring them to a doctor for immediate screening tests.