Hearing is an essential contributor to your child’s development. If hearing loss is not addressed it can delay important development, such as learning language, and have an impact on vital life skills including socialising. Thankfully there are lots of ways to help a child cope with hearing loss, the first step is to identify the potential problem.
Your child develops significantly during their first three years. This makes it incredibly difficult to generalize when it comes to hearing loss between 0-3 years of age. On top of that, children master many skills, such as language, at different paces, so you may need to consider whether or not your child has additional challenges. Hearing loss can delay language development during this critical period for learning, which could also affect learning or acquiring other skills because they may not fully perceive the verbal instructions
With that being said, we have gathered guidelines of signs to be aware about to help identify potential hearing loss in children up to the age of 3.
It can be difficult to identify hearing loss at such a young age, especially if it is mild. There are however some signs to look out for. There could be indications of hearing loss if your child is not able to:
● Respond to sound and music
● Turn their eyes in the direction of a sound
● Recognise and respond to your voice
● Notice toys that make sounds
● Make different noises when happy or upset
When your child turns one, he or she will have reached a bunch of developmental milestones. With regards to their hearing, they should now be able to:
● Respond to their name
● Turn and look in the direction of sound
● Understand and respond to simple words such as “No”, “More?”, “Up”, “Daddy” etc.
● Listen to songs and stories for short periods
● Recognise familiar voices / music / sounds
● Play peek-a-boo or similar games with you
● Make simple sounds – potentially be saying their first words
Once your child reaches the age of two, he or she has been experimenting a lot. Both with their body but also with sounds and words. It could be an indication of hearing loss if by your child’s second birthday they are not yet able to:
● Use and understand a lot of new words
● Name items in books or in everyday life
● Follow simple instructions such as “Pick up the doll”, “Go to mommy” or “Look at the dog”
● Recognise body parts or pictures in books when you name them
● Ask and respond to simple questions like “What’s that?”, “Who’s that?” and “Where’s Tommy?”
● Put words together like “daddy, up” or “No more banana”
Your child is now walking (or running) around and expressing their personality through words. By this age, it can be an indication of hearing loss if your child still cannot:
● Put together small sentences
● Understand opposites such as big/small, up/down, stop/go
● Talk and be understood by people who know them
● Ask and understand “Why?”
● Follow increasingly complicated directions such as “Go to your room and grab the blanket”
● Learn and understand new words quickly
f you’ve read our list and now consider that your child may have a hearing problem, beginning your child’s journey to better hearing as soon as possible can make a big difference to their life. The first step is to get your child’s hearing assessed by a hearing care professional.