Signs of Hearing Loss In Children


Signs of hearing loss

  • Lack of attention to sounds (birth-1 year)
  • No response when you call their name (7 months-1 year)
  • Don’t follow simple directions (1-2 years)
  • Show delays in speech and language development (birth-3 years)
  • Pull or scratch at the ears
  • Difficulty keeping up in school, especially in reading and math
  • Socially isolated and unhappy in school
  • Persistent ear discomfort after exposure to loud noise (regular and constant listening to electronics at high volumes)


Hearing is very important for your child to learn to talk. If you are concerned about your child’s hearing, you can get a hearing test at any age. It is never too early – even young babies can have hearing tests.
It may be hard to know if your child has a hearing problem, as children can’t always tell us if they do not hear. Below are some signs of hearing. If you do not see these signs in your child, you may want get a hearing test for your child.

Things to Watch for While Your Child is Growing:

Birth to 3 Months

  • reacts to loud sounds with startle reflex
  • is soothed and quieted by soft sounds
  • turns head to you when you speak
  • is awakened by loud voices and sounds
  • smiles in response to voices when spoken to
  • seems to know your voice and quiets down if crying

3 to 6 Months

  • looks or turns toward a new sound
  • responds to “no” and changes in tone of voice
  • imitates his/her own voice
  • enjoys rattles and other toys that make sounds
  • begins to repeat sounds (such as ooh, aah, and ba-ba)
  • becomes scared by a loud voice or noise

6 to 10 Months

  • responds to his/her own name, telephone ringing, someone’s voice, even when not loud
  • knows words for common things (cup, shoe) and sayings (bye-bye)
  • makes babbling sounds, even when alone
  • starts to respond to requests such as “come here”
  • looks at things or pictures when someone talks about them

10 to 15 Months

  • plays with own voice, enjoying the sound and feel of it
  • points to or looks at familiar objects or people when asked to do so
  • imitates simple words and sounds; may use a few single words meaningfully
  • enjoys games like peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake
  • follows one-step commands when shown by a gesture

15 to 18 Months

  • follows simple directions, such as “give me the ball” without being shown
  • uses words he/she has learned often
  • knows 10 to 20 words
  • points to some body parts when asked

18 to 24 Months

  • understands simple “yes-no” questions (Are you hungry?)
  • understands simple phrases (in the cup, on the table)
  • enjoys being read to
  • points to pictures when asked

24 to 36 Months

  • understands “not now” and “no more”
  • chooses things by size (big, little)
  • follows two-step commands, such as “get your shoes and come here”
  • understands many action words (run, jump)

You may also want to take your baby to an audiologist to have his/her hearing checked if any of the following risk factors apply.

Risk factors for hearing loss:

  • Close family member had a hearing problem in childhood
  • Your child had a serious infection at birth
  • Your child had a difficult birth which affected breathing
  • Your child’s weight at birth was less than 1500 grams
  • Your child’s head, face or ears do not look normal
  • Your child was in intensive care as a baby
  • Your child has a brain condition
  • Your child needed an exchange blood transfusion

Download the Hearing Milestones pamphlet (PDF).



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