If you think your baby might be suffering from hearing loss, it is important to get them checked out by a doctor as soon as possible.
Many parents are unsure of how to tell if their baby is having trouble hearing, so we have put together a list of ways that you can determine if there might be a problem.
Keep in mind that not all babies with hearing loss will exhibit all these symptoms, so if you are concerned, it is best to consult a medical professional or visit Hear & Say for a hearing test. Keep reading to learn more about the signs of hearing loss in babies.
Hearing Loss in Babies
While it’s true that babies can develop hearing problems at any age, it’s most common for babies to be born with hearing loss or develop it in the first few months after birth.
However, it can be very difficult to tell if a baby has hearing loss since they cannot communicate with us the way that older children and adults can. As a result, parents and medical professionals have to look for other ways to determine if a baby might be suffering from hearing loss.
There are many different causes of hearing loss in babies, including:
Congenital (Present at Birth) Abnormalities
One of the causes of hearing loss in babies is congenital abnormalities. These are conditions that are present at birth and can affect the development of the inner ear, auditory nerve, or middle ear. Some congenital abnormalities that can cause hearing loss include:
- Malformations of the outer ear
Infections & Diseases
There are also a number of infections and diseases that can cause hearing loss in babies. These include:
- Rubella (German measles)
These diseases and infections can affect the baby directly or be passed down from the mother. In some cases, hearing loss can also be caused by certain medications that are used to treat these diseases.
Hearing loss can also be caused by trauma to the head or ear. This can occur before or after birth and can be the result of:
- A difficult delivery
- A blow to the head
- Exposure to loud noise
All of these can damage the delicate structures of the ear and lead to hearing loss.
Prematurity & Low Birth Weight
Another common cause of hearing loss in babies is prematurity or low birth weight. Babies who are born early or weigh less than five pounds at birth are at a higher risk for developing hearing problems. This is because the ear structures of these babies are often not fully developed, and they may be more susceptible to infection and disease.
If you think your baby might have hearing loss, it is important to get them checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. Early intervention is essential for babies with hearing loss, and the sooner you get started, the better.
Ways To Tell if Your Baby Has Hearing Loss or Not
If you’re concerned that your baby may have hearing loss, there are some ways to tell. Watch for these signs and consult your baby’s doctor if you have any concerns.
- Doesn’t Startle at Loud Noises
Babies are born with a natural reflex to startle at loud noises. If your baby doesn’t seem to react to sudden, loud sounds, it could be a sign of hearing loss.
- Not Turning Toward the Direction of Sound
Another way to tell if your baby may have hearing loss is if they don’t turn their head or eyes in the direction of sound. All babies will eventually outgrow this, but if it persists beyond a few months, it could be cause for concern.
- Doesn’t Babble or Make Cooing Sounds by Four Months
Babbling is another way to tell if your baby may have hearing loss. All babies start babbling around four months old. If your baby isn’t babbling by this age, it could be a sign that they can’t hear well.
- Doesn’t Say Simple Words by One Year
If your baby isn’t saying simple words like “mama” or “dada” by their first birthday, it could be a sign of hearing loss. Most babies start speaking around six months old, so if yours isn’t, it’s worth investigating.
- Not Responding to Your Voice
If your baby doesn’t seem to respond when you call their name or talk to them, it could be a sign of hearing loss. All babies will eventually learn to respond to their name, so if yours isn’t, it’s worth checking out.
These are just some ways to tell if your baby may have hearing loss. If you’re concerned, the best thing to do is consult your baby’s doctor. They can help you determine if there is a problem and what the next steps are.
Hearing loss in babies can be hard to detect. If you think your baby may have a hearing problem, talk to your pediatrician. This way, you can get your baby the help he or she needs as soon as possible.