toddler girl wearing a hearing aid while looking at book with mom

6 Signs That Your Young Child May Have Hearing Difficulties

As a parent, your child’s health and well-being are always a top priority.

As such, it’s important to be aware of any potential signs that your young child may be experiencing hearing difficulties.

And, given that its symptoms are not evident, this condition is not always easy to identify and diagnose. 

From neglecting to respond to their name being called to turning the volume up beyond what is considered normal, various behavioral cues may sound an alarm.

toddler girl wearing a hearing aid while looking out window

Signs of Hearing Difficulties

In this blog post, we’ll explore some common indicators that could indicate that your child has hearing difficulties and what steps you can take if you suspect there is an issue.

First Things First: Where to Learn More About Hearing

If you suspect that your child may have hearing loss, the first step is to talk to a healthcare professional, such as a pediatrician or an audiologist.

There, your child will be taking a hearing test to determine the degree of hearing loss or if there has been any loss of hearing at all.

Hearing loss in children can occur at any age: it can be present at birth (congenital) or develop later in childhood (acquired). 

Congenital hearing loss can run in families or derive from infections such as rubella, which occur during pregnancy.

Additionally, babies who are in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) are more likely to experience hearing loss.

Determining the health and functioning of your child’s hearing is crucial — and for more than a reason. Indeed, hearing loss can be an isolated condition, meaning it occurs on its own without any other symptoms.

However, in some cases, it can be a feature of a syndrome that causes additional health complications and leads to speech and cognitive underdevelopment. 

If you are unsure what to expect, reliable resources such as Hearing Research can help you learn more about hearing loss in children and adults.

Let’s start understanding this condition by looking at the signs that your little one may have hearing loss. 

Inability To Hear Faint Sounds

According to statistics, about 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears.

This hearing loss can vary and may range from mild to severe, and can impact a child’s ability to hear high-pitched sounds more than low-pitched ones.

Telltale signs that your child is unable to hear sounds include not being startled by a loud noise or not enjoying toys that make sounds. 

In older children, the fact that they increase the volume of devices and TV above what’s considered normal may also be a sign of hearing difficulties. 

Not Responding to Sounds

Not responding to sounds is one of the primary indicators that a child may have hearing loss.

For example, if a child does not turn their head towards the direction of a familiar sound or when being called by their name, this symptom may be cause for concern. 

Delayed Speech Development

Delayed speech development is often one of the most severe signs of hearing loss in children.

Children learn language by hearing and imitating sounds around them, but if they cannot hear certain sounds, they may miss out on learning key aspects of language.

This can lead to delays in speech development and difficulty communicating with others.

The signs that your child’s speech development is impacted depend on their age. For example, babies with healthy hearing should start making babbling noises between 4 and 15 months of age.

In older children, signs of hearing loss may be that the baby does not use their voice to grab your attention. 

If you are looking to keep your children healthy, speaking to a pediatrician can help you understand what to expect during each phase of development and how to identify the signs of underlying conditions. 

Speaking Difficulties

If you notice that your child’s speech is unclear or difficult to understand, it may be a sign of hearing loss.

When children can’t hear the sound properly, they may have trouble pronouncing words correctly or speaking at a normal volume.

Unclear speech can lead to frustration and social isolation for children, so it’s essential to address any potential hearing issues as soon as possible.

Inability To Follow Basic Commands

If you notice that your child has difficulty following basic commands, it may be because of hearing difficulties.

For example, if you ask your child to pick up their toys and they don’t respond or seem confused, it could be due to an inability to hear and understand the instructions.

Not Showing Interest in Songs or Stories

Children with hearing difficulties often have trouble understanding spoken language, which can make them uninterested in engaging with others through music or story time.

This lack of interest may also be due to the fact that they are unable to hear the words clearly or follow the storyline.

Partner With a Specialist

If you suspect that your child has hearing loss, it is important to partner with a specialist to find the best treatment option for your needs.

A specialist can conduct thorough hearing assessments and provide recommendations for the most appropriate devices, therapies, or interventions for your child’s unique needs.

Get started today.