From seeing your child reach each precious milestone, to imagining the worst at every episode of sickness, the journey of parenting can be an absolute emotional roller-coaster. But among all the other obvious signs of growth and good health, have you ever wondered, if your child’s hearing is developing normally?
Here’s all you need to know about what’s normal in the development of your baby’s hearing and the red flags that should tell you when it’s not.
Know Your Baby’s Milestones
Some hearing issues manifest as babies start growing, and even if your baby has cleared her first screening it’s important that you continue to watch for signs that he/she’s hearing well and keep track of his or her milestones.
The Red Flags: When To Call The Doctor
Although auditory screening is the most important way to determine if a baby’s hearing is impaired, those around the baby need to be alert for warning signs. Having said that, each baby is different and some of the warning signs alone may not necessarily be a cause for concern. Your baby might be a sound sleeper for instance and may not react to loud noises when asleep, or may have colic and might not be able to calm down with any soothing sound. But it’s always better to err on the side of caution and alert your doctor if you notice any of these signs.
Newborn to 3 months
- Your baby doesn’t get startled with loud noises.
- Doesn’t respond to sounds, voices or music.
- Doesn’t get soothed by calming sounds or familiar voices.
- Doesn’t make sounds like ‘Ohh’.
- Doesn’t wake up due to loud noises around him.
4 to 8 months
- Doesn’t turn towards a sound.
- Doesn’t try to imitate sounds by 6 months.
- Hears some sounds and not others.
- Doesn’t babble.
- Doesn’t notice changes in the tone of voices.
- Doesn’t notice the sounds of rattles and noise-making toys.
- Is able to notice vibrating noises but not ones without them.
- Doesn’t show a change of expression at a noise or the sound of a voice in a quiet place.
9 to 12 months
- Doesn’t respond to his or her name.
- Shows no change in pitch when babbling.
- Doesn’t say words like mama and dada, at 1.
- Doesn’t understand simple words like ‘shoe’ or ‘Bye-bye’ or ‘come here’.
- Doesn’t respond to music by bouncing or singing along.
- Doesn’t turn towards soft sounds.
- Doesn’t make consonant sounds like m,p,b,g etc.
Babies whose hearing loss is diagnosed and treated early can grow up to have normal speech and development like other kids their age. If you suspect that your baby may have trouble hearing, have her pediatrician fix up an appointment with an audiologist before your baby turns three months.
The audiologist may try and assess your baby’s risk of developing hearing issues based on her medical and family history. But as many as 50% babies have hearing loss without any known risk factors involved. You baby might also be evaluated by an ENT specialist, as sometimes hearing loss can be triggered by other health problems.
Know That You’re Not Alone
If it does turn out that your baby has hearing loss, distressing as it may be, take heart from the fact that you’re not alone and millions of children experience what your baby is experiencing. Look for support groups or organizations nearby or on the internet for encouragement and their experiences and know that by sharing yours, you might be helping others too.