Hearing is one of the most important senses a child can have.
If a child hears, pathways respond with accelerated development in the brain. The pathways that develop from utero onwards will be dedicated to hearing and other skills that stem from hearing.
The connections between sounds and what they mean – which we call auditory association, will develop most rapidly in the first five years of life. The heightened development in the first 12-24 months of life support the tools needed for speech and language development, long before your child says his or her first word.
With hearing, spoken language, reading and writing comes more easily, together with music appreciation.
A hearing screening test can be done just after birth. Research shows that babies who are helped before 6 months have better development of speech and language skills.
Children who are identified later still benefit from intervention including therapy from Audiologists and Speech Therapists, who work hand in hand to access sound and accelerate auditory, speech and language development.
Review these signs and symptoms of hearing difficulty in children to see if your child needs to see an Audiologist for Evaluation.
Signs & Symptoms of Hearing Loss In Children
See an Audiologist with your baby or child if he or she:
• Does not startle with a loud, sudden sound
• Does not show a general awareness of sound by alerting, quieting, or turning to sound when they can move voluntarily, or turns consistently in the wrong direction.
• Does not speak the same way as other children of the same age. Hearing is the incoming channel for speech and language development. Even a small loss of hearing can impact the development of speech, language, auditory processing reading, spelling, and learning skills which can have a lifetime effect on your child’s optimum development.
• Does not respond when they are not looking at you.
• Complains that they can’t hear a teacher or other person.
• Has difficulty concentrating, or has trouble remembering verbal instructions.
• Moans or complains about a sore ear, or tugs on an ear.
• If your child tells you that they can’t hear, LISTEN to them.
• If your child demonstrates ear pain or discharge, see your medical doctor for treatment but have your child’s hearing checked afterwards.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend that a baby’s hearing should be tested before one month of age. If your baby did not pass a hearing screening test, or you have any concerns, you should have a full assessment before six weeks, or at least before 3 months of age.
Reconnect Audiologists recommend that children should have annual hearing screenings until they reach their teens. In fact, because of the risky listening behaviours of most teenagers, this could be extended to the age of 20, so that your child is properly educated about the dangers of excessive sound.