The hearing is a vital part of children’s ability to develop speech and language over time. Hearing problems, even at a very young age, can create major issues in children’s cognitive, social, and learning development. Hearing problems in children can be easily detected during a regular hearing check. Understanding why hearing checks are so important and knowing when to schedule them for your child means getting any issues addressed promptly and properly. Let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know about hearing checks for your child.
What is a Hearing Check?
A hearing test is performed by an audiologist and includes a series of tests that check a child’s response to sounds. This may be done using a variety of volumes and tones to detect when the problem begins. During a hearing test, a child may be asked to press a button or raise their hand each time they hear a noise. In toddlers, a response can be judged based on the eye or head movements after hearing a sound.
How Often Should Your Child Be Checked?
All babies should receive a hearing check shortly after being born and this test detects most hearing issues. If your child is born at home or in a birthing center, be sure to have them checked within 3 weeks of birth. Between birth and the teenage years, hearing loss nearly doubles due to infection, trauma, and various other reasons. This means that even if your baby passes the initial test, they should still be checked regularly throughout childhood. If your child seems to have normal hearing, they should still be tested at ages 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10. Even if it isn’t time for a hearing check, if your child appears to be struggling with hearing or speech don’t hesitate to set up an appointment with their doctor.
Symptoms of Hearing Loss or Trouble
Knowing the signs and symptoms to look for in children of different ages that could indicate hearing loss is an important step in beginning the treatment process. Some of the signs and symptoms to look for include:
- Speech problems
- Regular inattentiveness
- Learning problems
- Watching videos or TV at a higher volume than needed
- Gets distracted easily by background noise
- Failure to respond to a conversation or their name being called
If you notice any of these signs, or your child complains of hearing difficulty, schedule a visit with their doctor right away to receive a hearing check and begin treating the problem at hand. Many hearing problems in children may be improved over time with proper treatment and those that do not can at least be managed.