Should you test your child's hearing?

6 tips that your child may have hearing loss

1.  Delay in speech/language development

There is a wide range for language development for babies and young children.  However, there are certain milestones that all children should reach by a certain age including babbling, word approximation and phrases.  These general guidelines are well established and available on  multiple websites including American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA). A baby or young child who is not making normal strides in speech and language development may have hearing loss and should be tested by a hearing specialist.

2.  Articulation errors or child speaking differently than his/her peers

As children’s language progresses some toddlers and grade school children may present with hearing loss by demonstrating articulation errors, or speech patterns that differ from other children their age.   A child can have seemingly normal hearing and speech development outside of articulation errors, but these errors can be a sign of a mild-moderate hearing loss. Children with a moderate hearing loss may hear well enough for language to develop, but may not hear parts of words clearly causing articulation errors will occur.  Any child requiring speech therapy for articulation errors should have his or her hearing tested, as hearing loss may be the underlying cause of the problem.

3.  Turns up volume loud on TV

Some children, just like some adults, like to listen to the TV or music more loudly than others.  However, a child who routinely turns the volume up louder than is considered comfortable by others in the room, or who always moves closer to the TV to hear, may have hearing loss and should be evaluated by a hearing specialist.

4.  Does not answer when you call

Children certainly learn quickly how to tune out adults or can be very focused on an activity and may not respond.  However, when you call a child and he frequently doesn’t answer, hearing loss could be the reason.   If the lack of response particularly happens, when a child has his back to you, or for other reasons cannot see your face or gestures, then consideration should be given for hearing testing.

5.  Academic problems

Historically, children with hearing loss were thought to be less bright than their peers with poor performance regarded as a reflection of a less intelligent child. While we are better informed today, there are still children who enter the school system and for a variety of reasons have previously undiagnosed hearing loss.  These children will have a harder time following oral instruction and may not hear the teacher well enough to understand the information, particularly in a noisy classroom.  When a child is struggling at school, and the teacher notes difficulty in following oral instructions, the hearing should always be tested as part of the academic assessment

6.  Complains of ringing in ears

In general ringing of the ears, or tinnitus, is a problem that does not often affect children.  However, with a significant increase in noise exposure for pre-teens and teenagers, primarily through personal music players and gaming devices, there has been an increase in complaints of tinnitus. Tinnitus can be a sign of early hearing loss and when a young person complains of tinnitus, noise exposures should be explored and hearing tested.

The ENT Faculty Practice is an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) and Allergy specialty practice located in Westchester County with additional offices throughout Westchester, Rockalnd and Orange counties.