Spotting Signs of Hearing Trouble in Your Baby

Posted on: 3 April 2017

Although most hospitals conduct a newborn screening for hearing loss, babies born in a birthing center or at home may not have this test conducted. In addition, the newborn hearing screen may not detect subtle hearing loss that will become apparent later on. Understanding the signs of potential hearing loss in your newborn can help you spot trouble early and get treatment as soon as possible. Here are some of the things you should watch for at different developmental stages that may indicate that your baby has a hearing problem.

The First Three Months

During the first couple of months of your baby's life, they'll be adjusting to all of the new sounds and stimuli in their environment. Watch how your baby responds to things around them for some very early indicators of hearing trouble.

For example, if your baby doesn't react to or wake up when loud noises occur, that could be an indication that he or she isn't hearing well. Also, watch for responses to your voice. In the first couple of months of life, babies will instinctively calm when they hear a voice that's familiar and will even start to coo or smile when they hear you. If your baby isn't reacting to your voice, it may be because they can't hear you.

From Four to Eight Months

As your baby gets older, he or she should start to show more responses to the world around them. For example, when a familiar sound occurs, your child should turn toward it or respond to it. If you make noise with a toy, you should see some response. Listen closely to your child's cries as well. You should notice differences in the cry based on what your child needs. A child with hearing trouble may not be able to alter the pitch and type of cry as effectively. Also, by this stage, your baby should be babbling and responding when spoken to. If this isn't happening, it could be that he or she isn't hearing things clearly.

Up to a Year

In the last few months before your child's first birthday, you should notice that he or she will respond to their name and may even react to changes in the tone of your voice. You'll typically start to get first words, like mama and dada. If you don't see this type of development, your child might be struggling to hear things around them. When sounds aren't clear, it's harder for language development, so your child may not speak.

If you have any concerns about your child's development at any stage, especially if you're seeing signs of hearing trouble, talk with a pediatrician at facilities like Burnsville Family Physicians. He or she will conduct a hearing screen and then refer you for further care if necessary.