Can your baby hear clearly? It can be difficult to tell, as babies don't yet understand language and can't reply when you speak to them. However, there are some simple tests you can do to identify a hearing problem in your infant. If your baby shows any of the signs of a hearing problem described here, consult a hearing specialist to get them the help they need.
Does Your Baby React Normally to Sounds?
Babies usually react to noises by moving their eyes or head toward the source of the sound. Loud noises can wake babies or make them cry, but softer sounds, such as speech or music, are more likely to soothe an infant. If your baby doesn't appear to react to sounds, try testing their reactions by playing music or shaking a rattle to get their attention. If your baby doesn't look around for the source of the sound, that could be a sign of a hearing problem.
Does Your Baby Show Other Signs of Ear Problems?
Babies' hearing can sometimes be affected by infections in the ears, or even arise due to objects getting stuck in the ear canal. If your baby is suffering from this kind of problem, you'll probably notice them pulling on their ears and crying more than usual. You should also look out for signs of infection in the ears, such as discharge from the ears. If you see any of these signs of an ear problem, have your baby checked over by your regular paediatrician or a paediatric ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist.
Getting Treatment for Hearing Problems in Babies
If you notice that your baby is struggling to hear properly, don't panic. There are many treatments available to improve your child's hearing and help them live a normal life. Babies who have a hearing loss of 40 dB (decibels) or more can benefit from being fitted with hearing aids. The earlier these aids are fitted, the greater the benefit to your child. The aids allow children to listen to speech, which can help them to develop language skills.
Children who have milder hearing loss may not need hearing aids, but they can benefit from a little extra help with language development. Provide your hearing-impaired child with the support they need by talking to them as much as possible and keeping eye contact while you speak. This helps the child concentrate on your voice and learn how to process it into words.