for kids

Signs of Hearing Problems

Always be alert to situations where your child is not responding to sound appropriately, as this may be a signal of hearing loss. Sometimes it is difficult to detect mild forms of hearing loss, including hearing loss in one ear only. It is important to remember that even mild forms of hearing loss can negatively impact a child’s ability to learn through the auditory channel. This means that children with mild hearing loss may have difficulty in school, and exhibit attention, behavioral or social problems in the classroom. If you are concerned about your child’s performance in school, request a comprehensive hearing evaluation.

Common warning signs for hearing loss include:

  • Family member or teacher concern regarding:
    • hearing ability
    • delays or differences in speech and language development
    • lack of attention or behavioral difficulties
    • poorer than expected academic performance
  • Not responding to someone talking out-of-view, particularly with minimal distractions
  • Displaying a surprised look when the child’s name has been called at a normal or even fairly loud level, and using “what?” or “huh?” frequently
  • Intently watching the faces of speakers
  • Difficulty understanding speech in background noise
  • Sitting close to the TV when the volume is adequate for others
  • Increasing the TV or music volume to unreasonably loud levels
  • Not responding to voices over the telephone or switching ears continually when the phone is utilized
  • Not being startled by intense sounds
  • Not being able to locate the source of a sound accurately

The single most important sign of hearing loss in the very young child is the failure to develop or delayed development of spoken language. Even if your child passed a hearing screening given in the hospital shortly after birth (newborn hearing screening test) and are concerned, tell your child’s primary care provider immediately.


Milestones of Communication

Signs of Hearing Problems

Newborn Hearing Screening

Evaluation of a Child's Hearing Loss

Testing Your Child's Hearing

Some Common Hearing Problems in Children

When Permanent Hearing Loss Exists

Noise Exposure