Your child most likely had a newborn hearing screening following birth. However, some hearing losses can begin months or years after birth. Stay tuned into how your child attends to sounds, starting at birth. Your child should begin responding to her name around 7 months to 1 year of age and follow simple directions around 1-2 years of age.
Watch for signs of ear discomfort, such as constant pulling or itching, or a history of ear infections. Look for delays in speech and language starting at birth, academic difficulties in school (especially in reading and math), and social isolation or unhappiness at school. Be aware of the volume your child prefers when watching television, if she answers questions inappropriately, has difficulty understanding what others are telling her, looks to see what other are doing to understand when she is supposed to be doing, or talks and responds differently than other children her age.
Now that we know what to look for, let’s be careful with little ears! Noise induced hearing loss is caused by exposure to loud sounds and usually happens over a period of time, without pain. Research is showing noise induced hearing loss at younger ages and with more frequency. Here are some tips to protect little ears:
- Keep the volume down. A good rule is to keep devices no higher than half volume.
- Limit listening time on personal devices to one hour per day and provide “quiet breaks” to reduce the overall duration of noise exposure.
- Use over the ear headphones to reduce background noise, therefore decreasing the desire to turn the volume up to compete with other sounds in the environment.
Talk to an audiologist if your child does not pass her newborn hearing screening, school hearing screenings, or if you have general hearing concerns. If you have any questions please feel free to contact our Speech-Language Pathologists at The Chicago Pediatric Therapy & Wellness Center.