How to Recognize Hearing Loss in an Infant

Newborns require multiple visits with a hearing care professional to determine whether there are any complications with their hearing before they worsen. In some instances, infants may not receive the proper hearing tests or they may begin to show signs of a hearing loss at an older age.

Since communication and social activity is impaired by a hearing loss, it’s important to know what to look for in a child’s behavior to determine if their hearing is functioning appropriately. Left untreated, this condition could stunt a child’s development and some important skills may never be learned at all.

A hearing loss doesn’t have to be hard to spot. Contact a hearing care professional as soon as possible if you notice your child doing all or some of these behaviors:

  • Difficulty following instructions or staying focused, which could lead to issues at school
  • Seems introverted or isolated from their peers
  • Seems to rely on facial cues and body language to understand speech
  • Regularly needs the TV and other devices turned up louder

While no child develops in quite the same way, there are certain patterns to the way newborns learn to communicate. Keep track of your child’s progress to guarantee that they are meeting their developmental goals. The following list provides the most common skills that infants develop during their first cycles of life:

Birth to 4 months

In this first stage, your child will learn to respond to the sound of your voice. Most likely they will respond most positively to softer sounds such as coos and whispers. The infant will also appear calm when they are around familiar voices and afraid when confronted with loud or foreign sounds. In addition, they will have trouble sleeping through noisy situations such as thunderstorms.

4 to 9 months

By the second half of their first year, the newborn should turn their head to acknowledge common sounds. If someone tries to get the baby’s attention, they will likely smile or laugh in response. Other signs of a healthy development include the first signs of babbling and cries for help. At the end of this cycle, a child with healthy hearing will be able to associate certain words with their gestures and certain sounds with their objects.

9 to 15 months

Around the one year mark, a child makes some extraordinary leaps in communication. They begin by saying their first words—usually “mama” or “dada”—and also imitate the sounds of others. This is the first sign that a child is learning to communicate for themselves. Their babbles become more complicated, and they even begin to recognize their own name as well as changes in tone when being addressed.

15 to 24 months

As the child approaches their toddler years, communication should continue to improve. At this stage, a child should be able to follow simple instructions, refer to parts of the body, point to objects or acknowledge them by name, and combine at least two words from a small vocabulary sample. If the infant enjoys listening to music and being read stories, it is likely that their hearing is functioning properly.

Do What’s Right For Your Newborn’s Hearing

When signs of a hearing loss appear in your newborn, you may be overwhelmed and worried about your child’s future. The first step in treating this serious condition is to make an appointment with a hearing care professional in your area. Let us help make the hearing restoration journey easier by connecting you with a Rexton specialist in your area. For more information or to make an appointment, please use our online locator as soon as possible so you can keep your child’s hearing safe for years to come.