Auditory Health for Children

baby hearing screen

Image Credit: Pexels

As a parent, there are many things we have to look out for when it comes to the health of our children. We feed them nutritious food, make sure they’re moving their bodies, brushing their teeth and take care of them when they’re sick. It is easy to let hearing and ear health get overlooked. If a child has a problem hearing, it isn’t visible, and often, until talking age, a hearing problem can go unnoticed. 

For the sake of child’s development, it is essential to look out for any hearing issues as early as we can, because from the moment we are born, we begin to develop language- which means any hearing loss needs to be detected and treated as early as possible. If you are worried about your own hearing health, then you can click here to find out more information about what you can do about that. 

If you have a young baby, there are some essential hearing milestones to look out for. Most newborn babies will startle or jump if they hear a sudden loud noise. Then by three months a baby usually recognizes their parent’s voice, and by six months a baby can often turn their eyes or head toward a sound. By twelve months, a baby can usually mimic some sounds and produce a few words.

As your baby becomes a toddler, signs of a hearing loss can include limited, weak, or no speech, being frequently inattentive, having difficulty learning, or becoming easily frustrated when there’s a lot of background noise. These can also signal sensory processing problems, so make sure you’ve done a little homework before speaking to your pediatrician. They can recommend a good occupational therapist if needed! You can use ear defenders to reduce background noise when you are in a noisy environment; we use them often in our home during homeschool. It helps my 7 year old focus on his work while I am teaching the 5 year old to read.

A child’s ability to hear can also influence social skills, the ability to both read and write, and learning to assess their environment- so the right medical and occupational therapies are important when needed.

To develop spoken language, children must be able to hear speech clearly and also to hear themselves. Although hearing loss occurs in the ears, the real affect is on the brain, as it is the auditory center of the brain that make sense of sound. The ears receive sounds and send signals to the brain, where they are processed to give meaning. 

If you are worried about your child’s hearing and have noticed that they are asking you to repeat yourself more often, or you think they’re not paying attention, then perhaps it could be something more. It is important to go and get it checked out early on, by a professional, who will be able to give your child the right treatment. 

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