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Signs of Hearing Loss

Parents are often the first people to sense that their child has a hearing problem. It is important to diagnose hearing loss in infants and toddlers as early as possible. The most critical period for speech and language development is from birth to four years of age.

The following are age appropriate behaviors for infants and toddlers. While these signs don't necessarily mean that your child has a hearing problem, they could be indicators of one. If you answered "no" to any of the questions below, or if you suspect your child may have difficulty hearing, contact the Audiology Department to schedule an evaluation with an audiologist.

Does your child?

Birth to 4 months:
• Awaken or stir at loud sounds?
• Startle at loud noises?
• Respond to your voice with smiles or coos?
• Calm at the sound of a familiar voice?

4 to 9 months:
• Turn eyes toward the source of familiar sounds?
• Smile when spoken to?
• Cry differently for different needs?
• Make babbling sounds?
• Notice rattles and other sound-making toys?
• Seem to understand simple word/hand motions such as "bye-bye" with a wave?

9 to 15 months:
• Babble a lot of different sounds?
• Respond to his/her name?
• Use his/her voice to attract attention?
• Respond to changes in your tone of voice?
• Say "ma-ma" or "da-da"?
• Understand simple requests?
• Repeat some sounds you make?

15-24 months:
• Use several different words?
• Point to familiar objects when they are named?
• Listen to stories, songs and rhymes?
• Name common objects?
• Follow simple commands?
• Point to body parts when asked?
• Put two or more words together?

Preschool & Older:
• Keeps the volume of the TV at comfortable levels?
• Responds appropriately to questions?
• Replies when you call him/her?
• Easily understands what people are saying?
• Does well academically?

If you answer yes to any of these next questions,there may be a hearing concern:

• Watch others to imitate what they are doing?
• Have articulation problems or speech/language delays?
• Complain of earaches, ear pain or head noises?
• Seem to speak differently from other children his or her age?

© Children's Hospital & Medical Center | In Affiliation with University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine