Pediatric Hearing Screenings
Our ability to hear may sometimes be taken for granted, but it is plays a significant role in a child’s emotional and social development. For this reason, our society has implemented pediatric hearing screenings to identify at-risk infants. However, the possibility for hearing loss may actually be more challenging to detect in older children, who have already developed the capacity for speech.
Hearing Loss – Early Intervention
Oftentimes, early signs of hearing loss are attributed to a “short attention span” or other bad behaviors, but it is important not to overlook these attributes.
Early intervention with hearing loss is very important when dealing with pediatric hearing loss. When hearing loss is left untreated, a child’s academic and social performance may experience a decline. If you suspect your child may have some degree of hearing loss, consider the following:
- Does your child’s teachers report that he or she can be unresponsive?
- Have you noticed your child turning his or her head so that sound is directed more at a specific ear?
- Does your child seem to look intently at people’s face or lips when they speak?
- Has your child experienced an unexplained drop in academic performance?
- Has it been more than a year since their last hearing check?
- Does your child seem to speak at a louder volume than others?
- Is your child unresponsive when he or she is facing away from you?
Another thing to keep in mind is if your child is meeting their speech-language milestones. A basic understanding of these milestones will allow you to assess whether your child’s language development is normal or irregular. Irregular communication development doesn’t always indicate an auditory impairment; however, any child who shows signs of slow development should get a hearing assessment as soon as possible.
Infants begin producing basic sounds like babbling early in their first year. By their first birthday, they string different multi-tonal sounds together and repeat familiar sounds like mama, dada or baba. Infants should respond to loud, familiar or surprising sounds (e.g. music, bangs or thuds, dog barking, their name, whistling, etc.) through actions like movement, eye contact and speech.
Within the span of a year, a child’s language production should transform from incoherent babbling to recognizable speech. By age two, most children can produce about 50 words and are able to form basic two- or three-word phrases. During this year, children gain an understanding of the names of familiar objects as well as basic commands. By 24 months, children can typically understand and perform commands with two parts (e.g. touch your ear and wiggle your toes).
During this year, a child’s vocabulary rapidly expands to hundreds of words. By age three, a toddler should be producing basic sentences of at least two or three words. Toddlers with normal hearing will begin engaging in communication with their parents, teachers and peers at this age. During this year, children develop the skill to differentiate between words like “over” and “under.” They also can follow more complicated commands and identify some numbers and colors. Unresponsiveness is common for this age; however, children with normal hearing should still react to loud sounds and give some response when their name is spoken.
Age 3-4By four, a child’s speech should be complicated and understandable, even to strangers. Children of this age ask questions, use pronouns and tell stories that are a few sentences long. At this age, children recognize and respond when their name is called from another room and display a solid understanding of basic language. Your child should also be able to hear TV, movies, games and music at the same volume as adults with normal hearing.
Pediatric Hearing Testing
If your child has exhibited any of these behaviors, we recommend seeking a formal diagnosis from a hearing health professional. At Heuser Health Institute, we provide a range of pediatric services and treatments, including:
- In-home assessments
- Speech-language therapy
- The most advanced audiology treatments and hearing aids in Louisville
- Developmental intervention
Our team specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of both pediatric and adult hearing loss. To find the latest treatments from a range of hearing aid manufacturers—including ReSound hearing aids, Oticon hearing aids and Phonak hearing aids—call our team today!