Hearing loss: is your baby showing any of these signs? 

Early identification of hearing loss could help your child reach his maximum potential. Here are some of the signs you should look for.

Baby ear

Baby ear / Photo: Pixabay - Reference image

The Woman Post | Luisa Fernanda Báez Toro

Listen to this article

Leer en español: Pérdida auditiva: ¿muestra tu bebé alguno de estos signos?

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, hearing loss can occur when any part of your child´s ear, including the outer ear, middle ear, inner ear, acoustic nerve, and the auditory system, is not working as it should.

The World Health Organization estimates that, at this moment, there are around 360 million people living with hearing loss and at least 32 million are children that, in the majority of cases, live in low and middle-income countries. 

WHO claims that many of these cases, when treated at an early age and properly, are preventable. Actually, the organization estimates that 60% of hearing loss in children under 15 years of age is preventable.

As read on Kids Health, during the first years of life, hearing is a critical part of your child´s emotional, social and cognitive development. Even a little hearing loss can affect his ability to develop speech and language properly and, according to WHO, when difficulties in communication exist, children can get feelings of anger, stress, loneliness and emotional or psychological consequences that will impact him and your family as a whole. 

As I already said, looking at the signs for early identification and early hearing screens could help you, child, to reach his maximum potential. For example, according to WHO, research suggests that “children who are born deaf or acquire hearing loss very early in life and who receive appropriate interventions within six months of age are at par with their hearing peers in terms of language development by the time they are five years old”. Here are some of the signs you should look for: 

  1. As read on Bebes y más, between eight and twelve months, your baby should be moving his head towards any sound or your voice. He does not startle to sound noises and does not look for the origin of it. 
  2. He does not babble and does not understand colloquial words, such as no or goodbye, without a gesture that supports it. 
  3. From the age of two, your child is not able to construct simple sentences, does not respond to his name, seems inattentive, has difficulty learning, uses too much the word “what’”, gets frustrated with background noise, among others. 
  4. As he grows older, signs may include limited, poor, or no speech, low school performance and during activities that involve listening, as read on Bebés y más, he may seem distracted or absorbed in other things. 
  5. Seems to need higher tv volume.
Also read: Altruistic babies? Study shows infants are willing to help others

“Many parents will just complain that their child doesn't listen or doesn't respond, not being aware that the child actually has a problem. That can end up in a distressing situation for both the child and the parent because the parent might be reprimanding the child when, in fact, the child is doing the best that they can”, said Devon Barnes, speech pathologist, and APD specialist, to Learn Fast.

As read on Kids Health, hearing loss can occur if a child:

  • Was born prematurely.
  • Has genetic background. Such factors, according to WHO, cause 40% of childhood hearing loss. 
  • Consumes medicines such as those used in the treatment of neonatal infections, malaria, drug-resistant tuberculosis, and cancer.
  • Stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
  • Had certain complications at birth.
  • had many ear infections.
  • Had infections such as meningitis or cytomegalovirus.
  • Was exposed to very loud sounds or noises, even briefly

Finally, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention argues that no single treatment or intervention is the answer for every person or family, but good treatment can include: 

  1. Close monitoring, follow-ups and any changes needed along the way. 
  2. Learning other ways to communicate, such as sign language.
  3. Technology to help with communication, such as hearing aids and cochlear implants.
  4. Medicine and surgery to correct some types of hearing loss.
  5. Family support services.