If you’re the parent of a small child, you may never have given their hearing ability a second thought. But their hearing could be at least partly to blame if you’re experiencing behavioral issues, so it’s something to be aware of.
You may think a child with hearing problems is ignoring you or being defiant, but in reality, there’s a communication breakdown. The child is too young to explain that something is wrong, and you may miss the signs.
It’s not always easy to detect if a child is hard of hearing, yet up to 3 kids out of 1000 might have partial or full hearing loss. Here are 5 signs that can indicate hearing loss in children, so you know if it’s time to take your child to a hearing specialist.
1. Not Understanding Spoken Language
If your child doesn’t understand spoken language at a rate that is right for his or her age, it could indicate a problem with their hearing. Most kids can respond appropriately to basic directions and verbal cues fairly early on. If not, and you continue to see them struggle as they grow and start school, you should ask yourself, is my child hard of hearing?
2. Not Speaking Words
In addition to understanding language, kids should be able to repeat words and then start to use phrases of their own. If your child seems delayed in language skills, you’re right to suspect an issue with their ability to hear. It would be wise to take them to your pediatrician or a local Hearing Clinic for an evaluation.
3. Failure to Notice Sounds
If you see your child appearing to ignore loud noises or not respond to sounds in another room, it’s time to ask yourself, is my child deaf? Note that there is a difference between being deaf, vs. hard of hearing.
Someone who is deaf has total hearing loss, while someone who is hard of hearing has partial hearing loss. Both conditions can cause someone to miss auditory cues, so it’s essential to have a hearing evaluation done to determine the exact cause.
4. Poor Grades
If your child brings home a consistently underachieving report card and fails to respond to coaching, you may ask, is my child hard of hearing or ignoring me or the teacher? Poor grades can result from a number of cognitive issues and learning disabilities. But it’s important to remember that hearing issues can also be a culprit, and get your child tested for full or partial hearing loss.
5. Inability to Pay Attention
You may think that your child has the attention span of a gnat, just because they were born hyperactive or have Attention Deficit Disorder. But if you experience repeated bad behavior or episodes of inattention, you should ask, is my child deaf or ignoring me?
Not being able to hear has a HUGE impact on a kid’s ability to focus and concentrate on what’s going on around them. So before you assume that they have a learning disability or deep-seated behavioral issue, get their hearing tested.
What to Do if Your Child Is Deaf or Hard of Hearing
If you suspect that your child is becoming deaf or hard of hearing, contact your pediatrician and schedule an appointment. Your child’s doctor will be able to do a preliminary check and refer them to a specialist if necessary. In some cases early intervention can help restore children’s hearing, so the sooner you contact your pediatrician, the better.