For most babies and young children, the sound of their parents' voices is a major source of calm and comfort. Kids with hearing loss experience the world differently, though, which can impact their development. Fortunately for parents, there signs your kid might have a hearing impairment that you can look out for, so you can get them the help they need to treat their hearing loss or help them navigate the world with different abilities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hearing loss can happen at any time in your life. However, because your child's brain, speech, and social development can be impacted by their ability to hear, it's important to identify hearing problems as early as possible. According to Babysfirsttest.org, as many as three in 1,000 babies born in the U.S. have some degree of hearing loss, which is why they recommend all babies receive a hearing screening within 24 hours after birth.
Even if a baby passes their newborn screening, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), they can still have or develop hearing loss later, due to an infection or injury. So, it's important that you pay attention to how they interact with you and, specifically, the things you say. If your baby seems to not notice you are there until you come into view, or your toddler doesn't seem to listen when you call their name, it might be a sign of hearing loss. The same site notes that if you think your child has hearing loss you should call their doctor as soon as possible. For many kids with hearing loss, treatments are available that can help your child hear and/or develop language skills, including hearing aids, tubes, and cochlear implants. And for children with untreatable hearing loss, it's important that they access services early on to learn to communicate with their world without sound.