Signs That Your Child May Have Trouble With Their Hearing

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When we think of hearing loss, we tend to think about it affecting older people, but hearing loss is actually extremely prevalent across all age groups, including in children. 

It is estimated that 14.9% of children between the ages of 6 and 19 have some degree of hearing loss, which, if undetected, can cause them significant problems at school and later.

Spotting the signs of hearing loss

It’s a little more difficult to spot the signs of child hearing loss than to notice the behavior in adults because children are very good at adapting to their situation. Therefore, the cues that they may be having trouble with their hearing can be a lot more subtle. Some of the signs that your child may have hearing loss include: 

  • They want the volume louder than everyone else 

If your child keeps asking you to turn the television up, or you have noticed that they play their tablet at a very high volume, then this could be a sign that they need the volume amplified in order to hear properly. Another behavior to watch out for is your child moving themselves closer to the television to sit right in front of it or the speaker. 

  • They say ‘what?!’ a lot more often 

Often, children give very subtle verbal cues like saying ‘what!?’ or ‘I couldn’t hear you,’, and it is not uncommon for these cues to be mistaken for them not paying attention. If your child says ‘what’ frequently, or is telling you that they can’t hear you, then this could be them trying to tell you that they are having trouble with their hearing. 

  • They turn their head when listening to you

If your child turns their head when you are talking to them, this could signify that their hearing is better in one ear than the other. Keep an eye out for your child tilting their head when listening to the television or when talking with you or their friends. 

  • They appear not to be paying attention in class or at home 

It is not uncommon for children to daydream, but if your child is not paying attention at school or at home, then sometimes there could be an underlying cause, such as hearing loss. It can be hard to pay attention if you can’t listen to what is going on and so it is not unusual for children with hearing difficulties to appear naughty at school. 

  • They get frustrated at school 

As well as losing focus, children with hearing difficulties can often get frustrated at school, which may present itself as a tantrum or bad behavior. It can be very frustrating for a child if they cannot hear what is being said in class or if they are being reprimanded for not doing something that they genuinely didn’t hear. 

  • They are missing speech and language milestones

By nine months old, a baby should be able to understand simple words such as “mommy“, “daddy”, “no”, and “bye-bye.” By ten months, only they should be making babbling sounds. By one year, they should have spoken their first few words, and by 18 months, they should have a vocabulary of between 20 and fifty words that they can use in short phrases. At 24 months, this vocabulary should have grown to 150 words, and by three to five years old, most children should be able to use spoken language to express what they want, how they feel, and to ask questions. If your child is missing any of these milestones by three months or more, then this could be because they are having trouble hearing and it is causing them to experience developmental delays. 

  • They appear withdrawn 

And lastly, as in adults, children may start to withdraw from social interactions if they find that they have trouble hearing in group settings. If your child used to be very social and now is avoiding playing with their friends and prefers to sit alone, this could also indicate that they are having trouble with their hearing. 

Getting help for your child

If you think that your child may be experiencing some degree of hearing loss, then you must have them seen by an audiologist as soon as possible. An audiologist will be able to conduct a thorough hearing examination to test their hearing ability and suggest possible treatment options such as hearing aids. Without medical assistance, your child’s hearing loss could worsen over time, affecting their development, causing them more problems at school and impacting their personal lives. 


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