Signs my child has hearing loss
It can be tricky to tell if babies are having trouble hearing because in the first two months of life they often don’t respond to the softest sounds they can hear. Rest assured, this is normal and a lack of response doesn’t necessarily mean your baby can’t hear.
Different levels of sound create various responses in babies, depending on how active they are:
Babies react to softer sounds when they are just dozing off, but less so when they’re awake and active.
In early life, babies are often intrigued by voices, so they will be more responsive to a soft-level voice compared with their response to other noises around the home.
They are more interested in complex sounds, such as rattles or music, than in the simple sounds of beeps or whistles.
Babies get bored. If a sound is repeated too often they can lose interest and stop responding (this is known as habituation).
Typical hearing and listening behaviour in babies:
Age 0-28 days
- Responds to nearby sounds.
- Is startled by sounds perceived as loud.
- Widens eyes or blinks at sudden sounds and may become distressed.
- Stirs or rouses from sleep in response to sounds. Babies will generally respond to soft sounds when in a light sleep. When babies are in a heavier sleep, sounds usually need to be perceived as loud to elicit a response.
- Eye movement – newborns may corner their eyes towards a nearby, continuous sound.
At one month, babies may move their eyes and head towards a nearby sound. They may tense their body in response to certain sounds and they may extend their limbs or fan out their fingers or toes.
Age 1 – 4 months
- Widens or blinks eyes and may wrinkle eyebrows in response to sounds.
- Eyes may shift towards sounds.
- Becomes quiet when sounds occur and may become tense.
- Starts turning head towards sounds by four months.
Age 4 – 7 months
- Turns head towards sounds but can only locate the sound directly if it is at the same level as the ear.
- Appears to listen. You will observe the best hearing when it’s quiet. If the house is noisy it may be more difficult to see responses to certain sounds.
What should you do if you’re concerned?
If you are concerned that your child may require assistance with their hearing, our friendly clinicians are here to provide you with expert guidance every step of the way.