Children can have hearing problems. Some of these problems can be noticed by parents while the child is still a baby and become more noticeable as they get older,

Early Problem Signs

As an infant, a baby looks around its surroundings. Everything is new to them. The first thing on their list is the mother who cares for them. They watch her intently and typically appear to listen to her as she talks or sings to them. The infant gets into a pattern of moving its head to see and listen to her as she moves about.  if she is not in sight and the child does not move his head or moves his eyes to find her, this lack of attention suggest some loss of hearing. If this is frequent, it is wise to check with you pediatrician and a reliable audiologist.[i]

Why good hearing is so important

Parents should be aware of the problems that child has because of poor hearing. A hearing loss makes understanding others difficult so the child also has problems in making a sensible and timely reply. This in turn makes than a less desirable playmate and a poor student. They tend to become a social outcast. [ii]   [iii]


The Mayo clinic  [iv]  suggests using five steps for general testing of hearing loss. The general diagnostic tests may include:

  1. Physical exam. A health care provider looks in your ear for possible causes of your hearing loss, such as earwax or an infection. The way your ear is formed might cause hearing problems, as well.
  2. Screening tests. A whisper test, which involves covering one ear at a time while listening to words spoken at many volumes, can show how you react to other sounds.
  3. App-based hearing tests. You can use a mobile app on your tablet to screen yourself for hearing loss.
  4. Tuning forks are two-pronged, metal instruments that make sounds when hit. Simple tests with tuning forks can help find hearing loss. They may also show where the ear damage is.
  5. Audiometer tests. A specialist in hearing loss, an audiologist, does these more-thorough tests. Sounds and words are directed through earphones to each ear. Each tone is repeated at low levels to find the quietest sound you can hear.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) points out that early Identification of Speech, Language, Swallowing, and Hearing Disorders is very important in getting the best and quickest improvements for your child. Children develop at their own rate. Most children learn skills within an age range, such as between 12 and 18 months. A child who takes longer to learn a skill may have a problem. Here some typical signs of speech, language, and hearing problems. You’ll see the expected age range next to each skill.  Here is the seven-step ASHA [v]approach

  1. Signs of Feeding and Swallowing Disorders in Children

Feeding and swallowing disorders can lead to health, learning, and social problems. Feeding disorders include problems with sucking, eating from a spoon, chewing, or drinking from a cup. Swallowing disorders, also called dysphagia (dis-FAY-juh) are difficulties with moving food or liquid from the mouth, throat, or esophagus to the stomach. Feeding and swallowing disorders are often related to other medical conditions but may also occur without a known cause.

Your child may have a feeding or swallowing problem if they:

  • arch their back or stiffen when feeding
  • cry or fuss when feeding
  • fall asleep when feeding
  • have problems breastfeeding
  • have trouble breathing while eating and drinking
  • refuse to eat or drink
  • eat only certain textures, such as soft food or crunchy food
  • take a long time to eat
  • pocket (which means to hold food in their mouth)
  • have problems chewing
  • cough or gag during meals
  • drool a lot or have liquid come out of their mouth or nose
  • get stuffy during meals
  • have a gurgly, hoarse, or breathy voice during or after meals
  • spit up or throw up a lot
  • are not gaining weight or growing
  1. Language Disorders

Language is made up of the words we use to share ideas and get what we want. Language includes listening, speaking, understanding, reading, and writing. A child with a language disorder may have trouble with one or more of these skills.  Signs of language problems include:

Birth–3 months Not smiling or playing with others
4–7 months Not babbling
7–12 months Making only a few sounds. Not using gestures, like waving or pointing.
7 months–2 years Not understanding what others say
12–18 months Saying only a few words
1½–2 years Not putting two words together
2 years Saying fewer than 50 words
2–3 years Having trouble playing and talking with other children
2½–3 years Having problems with early reading and writing. For example, your child may not like to draw or look at books.

You can help your child learn language by

  • Talking, reading, and playing with your child.
  • Listening and responding to what your child says.
  • Talking with your child in the language that you are most comfortable using.
  • Teaching your child to speak another language, if you speak one.
  • Talking about what you do and what your child does during the day.
  • Using a lot of different words with your child.
  • Using longer sentences, as your child gets older.
  • Having your child play with other children.
  1. Speech Sound Disorders

Speech is how we say sounds and words. It is normal for young children to say some sounds the wrong way. Some sounds do not develop until a child is 4, 5, or 6 years old. Signs of a speech sound disorder in young children include:

1–2 years Not saying p, b, m, h, and w the right way in words most of the time
2–3 years Not saying k, g, f, t, d, and n the right way in words most of the time. Being hard to understand, even to people who know the child well.

You can help your child learn to say sounds by

  • Saying sounds the right way when you talk. Your child needs good speech models.
  • Not correcting speech sounds. It is okay if your child says some sounds the wrong way.
  1. Stuttering

Most of us pause or repeat a sound or word when we speak. When this happens a lot, the person may stutter. Young children may stutter for a little while. This is normal and will go away over time. Signs that stuttering might not stop include:

2½–3 years
  • Having a lot of trouble saying sounds or words
  • Repeating the first sounds of words, like "b-b-b-ball" for "ball"
  • Pausing a lot while talking
  • Stretching sounds out, like "fffffarm" for "farm"

You can help your child by

  • Giving your child time to talk.
  • Not interrupting or stopping your child while he speaks.
  • Noticing if your child gets upset when stuttering. Pay attention to how she speaks.
  • Children who stutter may close their eyes or move their face or body when talking.
  1. Voice Disorders

We use our voice to make sounds. Our voice can change when we use it the wrong way. We can lose our voice when we are sick or after talking or yelling a lot. Signs that your child may have a voice disorder include:

  • Having a hoarse, scratchy, or breathy voice.
  • Sounding nasal, or like they talk through their nose.

You can help your child by:

  • if your child’s voice sounds different and it does not go away after a short time.
  • Telling your child not to shout or scream.
  • Keeping your child away from cigarette smoke.
  1. Hearing Loss

Some children have a hearing loss at birth. Others lose their hearing as they get older. Some signs that your child may have a hearing loss include:

Birth–1 year Not paying attention to sounds
7 months–1 year Not responding when you call her name
1–2 years Not following simple directions
Birth–3 years Having speech and language delays

You can help your child by:

  • Making sure your child has a newborn hearing screening.
  • Taking your child to the doctor if he has an ear infection.
  • Seeing an audiologist if you worry about your child’s hearing.

Because audiology for children is a unique specialty, it is wise to locate to locate a hospital which can perform a number of tests to diagnose the problem. Some of the many well-respected US hospitals and their main location include the following:

  1. ) Shriner’s Children’s Hospital, Cleveland,
  2. ) Chlldren’s National Hospital. DC,
  3. ) UCLA Health. LA,
  4. ) Children’s of Alabama, Birmingham,
  5. ) Children’s Hospital. Philadelphia,
  6. ) UPMC Children’s Hospital
  7. ) Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston.
  8. ) Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Children’s Medical Centers, Baltimore.
  9. I) Stanford Medicine Children’s Health Center, Palo Alto, Cal

You can get essentially the same information on hearing problems from each medical center mentioned but each one makes a user follow their unique set of steps to get information. You could always call them directly.  To avoid all this work, we walk you through this information using the Cincinnati Childrens Hospital.

Begin by going to your web browser and type in:   Once there you will have to click your way through six levels of boxes.

Going through the Cincinnati six levels is easy. Here is what you do at each step:

  1. On the top right, click on the RED box that says I WANT TO.
  2. Then go down the page to find and click on I WANT TO FIND A SPECIALTY.
  3. This brings you to the next page. Below one of the new RED boxes that show up, is a RED box that says DEVELOPMENT DISORDERS. Click on I WANT TO SEE MORE.
  4. More RED boxes show up. Go down the list of boxes to find the one that says SPEECH-LANGUAGE.
  5. Click on that and still more boxes show up. Now click on the word AUDIOLOGY.
  6. A new page shows that lists a number of items you may want to read. Read each item or call them on your phone.

NOTE – To read the next item, go to the top left of your screen and clicking on the left arrow. This brings you back to the list so you can read another item.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) website provides a number of articles describing the problems faced by children with poor hearing. The problems include social isolation and difficulties in getting a education. NIH notes that children with severe hearing loss have the most problems both as children and later as adults.

The Mayo site has many sections that can be confusing to use. The easy way to learn more is to go to the browser on your computer and enter: ‘MAYO CLINIC CHILDREN’S CENTER ROCHESTER’. Then look for and click on SPECIALTY GROUP and select AUDIOLOGY. The MAYO site then pops up with a list of the services they provide plus a list of their three locations and a phone number for each.

Coping with poor hearing is the special focus of the American Speech-Language

-Hearing Association (ASHA).  Access them by phone at 800-498-2071 or by going to your browser and entering: Once there, go to the search bar on the upper right of your screen and enter: Hearing Loss in Children.  There are many articles so look them over and pick a few to read. When you want to look at another article in the list, just click on the left arrow at the top of the page,