Dear Doctor

Dear Doctor

How do I know if my child has normal hearing?

Hearing is a very important function that has an impact on the way children learn language, especially during their early years. Babies are routinely tested before they leave the hospital through the use of a special sponge earphone, but it is still helpful to monitor your child at home. Watch your child’s response to sound. Does he or she respond appropriately?

Check for these normal responses to sounds:

From birth to 3 months, your baby should be startled by loud sounds, calm down when hearing your voice and be distracted by sound when feeding.

At 4 to 6 months, your baby should notice music, noisy toys and follow sound with his or her eyes.

From 7 months to a year, your baby should turn in the direction of sound, follow simple directions and listen when you are speaking.

From 1 to 3 years, your child should start to learn new words, listen to stories and speak phrases.

Check the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website for a comprehensive list of age-appropriate communication skills. When hearing problems are found early, hearing devices and communication techniques can help your child develop language skills.

If you have concerns about your child’s hearing, talk to your health care provider and ask for a referral to an audiology department.

Karen Teter, AuD, checks the fitting of Ali’s hearing aid.

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