If you suspect your small child is having trouble hearing, it's critical to get them treatment right away. The sooner a child is treated for hearing loss, the more likely the treatment will be effective and some or all of their hearing ability will be saved. The trouble is that it can be difficult to determine with any certainty if a child is in fact experiencing hearing loss. Unlike an older child or adult, a toddler is unlikely to understand what's happening or be able to explain it to you. For this reason, it's important to be on the lookout for these four signs of hearing loss:
No Longer Responds to Softer Noises
One of the most obvious signs of hearing loss in young children is that they no longer respond to quieter sounds they used to easily respond to. An example of this is if you say your child's name quietly while standing nearby (and there aren't any competing noises at the time) and they don't reply until you say it again in a much louder voice. If this only happens once in awhile it's typically nothing more than your child being a distracted toddler, but if it begins to happen frequently it may be something to watch out for.
Studies Your Face When You Talk
Sometimes young children experiencing hearing loss will begin to compensate and adapt without necessarily realizing they are doing so. One way they may do this is to study your face intently when you talk, both in an attempt to read your lips and to gather clues from your facial expressions to make up for any words they are unable to hear.
Needs the TV to Be on a High Volume
Sometimes little kids just seem to enjoy having the television or radio on at an annoyingly high volume. But if your child starts to insist on louder and louder volume for media, this can be a sign that they're no longer able to hear well at a lower volume.
Complains About Frequent Ear or Headaches
Depending on the cause of hearing loss, it can lead to earaches or headaches. Even if this symptom occurs without the other three, it's a good idea to bring them to the pediatrician right away to determine what is causing this and get them relief from the pain.
These signs are not proof that your toddler is experiencing hearing loss, but taken together they are a cause of concern. If you notice any combination of these behaviors in your child, make an appointment for your child with their pediatrician or a hearing specialist like The Hearing Clinic as soon as possible.