Checklist

Indicators of hearing loss

There are conditions which may affect a child’s ability to hear. Outlined below are factors indicating that a child is at risk for a hearing loss. If you are unsure about any of these conditions or are worried about your child’s hearing, consult a medical practitioner or audiologist.

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Babies – 29 days to 9 months

  • Peculiar response to sounds in their environment (e.g. blinking to a loud sound such as clapping)
  • Baby suddenly starts to babble less, or noises produced do not vary much in pitch.
  • Communication or developmental delay
  • Bacterial meningitis or other infections known to cause sensorineural hearing loss.
  • Head trauma
  • Ototoxic medications (medicines that can damage hearing)
  • Otitis media with effusion (fluid) for three months or longer.
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Babies – 9 monhts to 1 year

  • Your child demonstrates that he can understand simple words such as “Mommy”, “Daddy” or “No”.
  • Your child’s speech should have a “language structure” and consist of individual coherent syllables (“da-da-da”).
  • Your child will begin to form first understandable words at around this time.
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Infants – 1 to 3 years

  • Peculiar response to sounds in their environment (e.g. blinking to a loud sound such as clapping)
  • Baby suddenly starts to babble less, or noises produced do not vary much in pitch.
  • Communication or developmental delay
  • Bacterial meningitis or other infections known to cause sensorineural hearing loss.
  • Head trauma
  • Ototoxic medications (medicines that can damage hearing)
  • Otitis media with effusion (fluid) for three months or longer.
  • Your child demonstrates that he can understand simple words such as “Mommy”, “Daddy” or “No”.
  • Your child’s speech should have a “language structure” and consist of individual coherent syllables (“da-da-da”).
  • Your child will begin to form first understandable words at around this time.
  • Your child can speak one or more words.
  • Your child understands simple sentences. In response to verbal prompts he or she fetches familiar objects and points to parts of the body.
  • Your child should have a spoken vocabulary of 20 to 50 words and use short sentences such as “Go away!” or “Mommy carry”.
  • Your child’s spoken vocabulary now comprises at least 150 words, which are used in short sentences.
  • Your child's speech should also be largely comprehensible to adults who are not present on a daily basis.
  • Your child should be able to sit still and listen to descriptions of picture books.
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Children – 3 years to 5 years

  • Your child continuously expresses himself orally in order to convey his wishes and feelings, communicate information and ask questions.
  • Your child's vocabulary varies from 1000 to 2000 words, with which he can form complex sentences.
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Children – from 5 years

  • Parents should identify unusual behavior at school or concentration difficulties as soon as possible and determine ifhearing loss could be the cause.
  • If opting for a mainstream school, a few points should first be clarified with the classroom teacher: the student in question should sit as close to the front as possible (for better comprehension / lip reading where applicable) and the teacher should use an FM/Roger system.
  • Speech or music therapy can also provide additional support for the child. As well as enhancing the child’s verbal and communication skills, this can also promote reading and writing skills.

The timings mentioned above serve as guidelines for normal speech development. Delayed speech development of more than two to three months could potentially indicate hearing loss. If you have any concerns regarding your child’s hearing ask your physician or local specialist consultant for a hearing assessment.

» Learn more about causes of hearing loss