Hearing Loss in Children
Research has shown that adequate hearing in the first 6 months is essential to develop normal speech and language skills. In Queensland all babies are offered a neonatal hearing screen at birth and those who do not pass or who are at risk of hearing loss (e.g. those with a family history of hearing loss) are referred on for additional testing and monitoring. However, there are certain situations where a hearing loss may develop after the neonatal hearing screen so it’s important for families to be aware if their child is meeting listening milestones especially if they have a history of illness, trauma or infection.
Sound in the environment will elicit different responses from a baby depending on how alert they are at the time. Babies may react to soft sounds when they are in a pre-sleep state, but may show no significant response when they are awake and playing. Babies will also respond to voices, especially familiar voices, at a softer level than other environmental sounds and they also may lose interest in particular sounds and not continue to respond to sounds that are repetitive.
If you are concerned about your child’s hearing or speech development, speak to your GP or contact Cairns Audiology Group for an assessment.
Listening Milestones for Babies:
From birth to 4 weeks of age babies will;
- Respond best to closer sounds
- Be startled by loud noises
- Widen their eyes, blink or increase suckling in response to sudden loud sounds
- Wake from sleep in response to sounds
- Look towards familiar or continuous sounds
From 1 to 4 months babies will;
- Widen or blink eyes in response to sounds
- Shift eyes towards sounds
- Begin turning towards sounds
From 4 to 7 months babies will;
- Turn consistently towards sounds
- Become settled in response to familiar comforting sounds
- Appears to listen and may mimic some basic sounds