The vast majority of newborns in the United States receive a hearing screening before discharge from the hospital. But according to the Better Hearing Institute, hearing loss can occur at any time, and it may not be evident immediately. And while severe or profound hearing loss may be obvious, noticing milder forms of hearing loss—including hearing loss in only one ear—can be more difficult. That is why the Better Hearing Institute recommends regular hearing evaluations as children grow and mature, and offers these signs of hearing loss, to look for in a child:
Concern by a family member or teacher that a child is not quick to hear things
Delays in the development of a child’s ability to speak and use language as compared to others of the same age, at home, at school, or in the childcare setting
Difficulty paying attention and behaving
Difficulty with academic performance
Inappropriate, delayed, or a lack of response to soft and moderate-level sounds or spoken language when distractions are minimal
Frequent use of "what?" or "huh?"
Intently watching the faces of speakers
Difficulty understanding speech when there is background noise
Sitting close to the TV when the volume is loud enough for others; increasing the volume on the TV or other audio electronics to unreasonably loud levels
Not responding to voices over the telephone or continually switching ears when on the phone
Not “jumping” or becoming startled by sudden, loud noises
Inability to accurately figure out where a sound is coming from
Pay careful attention how quickly and well your child is learning to speak and understand language when compared to other children of the same age. If something doesn’t seem right, ask your doctor.