Hearing Loss in Children

2 to 3 of every 1,000 babies are born with some degree of hearing loss. In Oklahoma, we can expect at least 150 babies to be born with hearing loss each year. In 2000, Oklahoma mandated that every baby be screened for hearing loss before he or she leaves the hospital. Without newborn hearing screening, it is difficult to detect hearing loss in the first months and years of a baby’s life. Most children who are diagnosed with hearing loss have no risk factors for it.

Children who pass the newborn hearing screening may still acquire hearing loss due to various reasons. Acquired hearing loss can result from many things, including but not limited to:

  • Frequent ear infections
  • Viral and bacterial infections
  • A head injury
  • Exposure to very loud noises

Signs of Hearing Loss

Babies who pass the newborn hearing screening may also acquire hearing loss after birth and it may not be evident immediately. It is important to watch for signs of hearing loss in your child as he or she grows and develops.

Signs of hearing loss in babies may include:

  • Does not startle to loud noises
  • Does not turn toward a sound after 6 months of age
  • Does not say single words (for example, “no,” “mama,” “dada”) by one year of age
  • Appears to hear some sounds but not others
  • Will turn toward you when he/she sees you but not when you call his/her name from behind

Signs of hearing loss in children may include:

  • Speech is delayed
  • Speech is not clear (i.e., you and/or strangers cannot understand your child)
  • Turns the volume up too high when listening to a tablet, a smartphone, a television, etc.
  • Frequently says, “Huh?” or “What?” and often asks talkers to repeat themselves, particularly when he/she is unable to see the face of the talker
  • Seems to have significant difficulty understanding speech in noise

If you are concerned that your child is showing signs of hearing loss, it is important to have his or her hearing tested by a pediatric audiologist. Give our office a call today to talk about your concerns and make an appointment. 

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