When to test your child for hearing loss

» Hearing Testing | Published Articles » When to test your child for hearing loss

When to test your child for hearing loss

» Hearing Testing | Published Articles » When to test your child for hearing loss

Has your child failed a hearing test at school or at the pediatrician’s office? Does your child have speech delay or poor attention? Your child may have a hearing loss.

Hearing tests can be performed on infants and children of all ages. Newborns are given hearing tests before they leave the hospital. If your baby does not pass this newborn hearing screening in both ears, it does not always mean serious hearing loss, but your baby should be retested within three months. While a family history of hearing loss can be important, most babies or children with hearing loss have parents that have normal hearing. Premature babies have a higher rate of hearing loss and should be followed closely over time. Babies with certain types of birth defects or syndromes are also predisposed to having a hearing loss.

Hearing Loss Symtoms in Newborn or Baby

Symptoms of hearing loss in a newborn or baby may include:

  • Not being startled in reaction to loud noises
  • Not reacting to a parent’s voice by 3 months of age
  • Not turning head toward a sound by 6 months of age
  • Not imitating sounds or saying a few simple words by 12 months of age

Most children should get their hearing checked at regular health checkups, especially during the first few years of life. These checkups may include a physical exam of the ears that checks for excess wax, fluid, or signs of infection. Symptoms of hearing loss in a toddler include:

  • Delayed speech or speech that is unclear and hard to understand. Most young children can say a few words, like “mama” or “dada,” by 15 months of age.
  • Not responding when called by name
  • Not paying attention or following directions

Hearing Loss Symtoms in Older Children

Symptoms of hearing loss in older children and teens include:

  • Trouble understanding what other people are saying, especially in a noisy environment
  • Saying “huh” or “what” often
  • Having problems in school
  • Behavioral problems or trouble staying focused
  • Needing to turn up the volume on the TV or music player
  • A ringing or buzzing sound in the ears

Hearing Tests Are Age Depend

The type of hearing tests given depends on the child’s age and symptoms. For infants and young children, testing involves using sensors (which look like small stickers) or probes that go into the ear canals to measure hearing. These tests do not require a verbal response from the baby. Toddlers may be given soundfield tests. Soundfield tests check for response to tones or words delivered at different pitches, volumes, and/or noise environments in a noise proof booth. “Soundfield” tests provide hearing information based on responses to lights or noise-making toys but do not give ear specific information. Older children can wear headphones, play with toys and repeat words to allow the audiologist to obtain ear specific information to assess for hearing loss in 1 or both ears.

When to Test

Early discovery and treatment of hearing loss in babies and young children can help prevent future speech and learning delays.

At Pediatric Ear, Nose and Throat Associates, we provide a wide variety of hearing testing and treatment options in our office for children birth to 21 years of age. If your child needs a hearing evaluation or you are concerned with their hearing, don’t hesitate to call our office at 716-362-9730 today to schedule an appointment.

For additional information please review our guide to hearing testing in children. 

Rest assured, we are following all current Covid-19 prevention protocols in our exam rooms and hearing booths including temperature monitoring, room cleaning and disinfecting, social distancing and thorough cleaning of all hearing test equipment.


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