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The importance of hearing tests for children

 In the first few years of life, hearing is a critical part of kids’ social, emotional, and cognitive development. Even a mild or partial hearing loss can affect a child’s ability to speak and understand language.

Most children who are born with a hearing loss can be diagnosed through a hearing screening. But in some cases, the hearing loss is caused by things like infections, trauma, and damaging noise levels, and the problem doesn’t emerge until later in childhood. So it’s important to have kids’ hearing evaluated regularly as they grow.

If your newborn doesn’t pass the initial hearing screening, it’s important to get a retest within 3 months so treatment can begin right away. Treatment is likely to be more effective the earlier any problems are detected, and early treatment should limit the impact of problems on a child’s development.

Kids who seem to have normal hearing should continue to have their hearing evaluated at regular doctors’ appointments. Hearing tests are usually done at ages 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 18, and any other time if there’s a concern.

But if your child seems to have trouble hearing, if speech development seems abnormal, or if your child’s speech is difficult to understand, talk with your doctor.

Even if your newborn passes the hearing screening, continue to watch for signs that hearing is normal. Some hearing milestones your child should reach in the first year of life:

  • Most newborn infants startle or “jump” to sudden loud noises.
  • By 3 months, a baby usually recognizes a parent’s voice.
  • By 6 months, an infant can usually turn his or her eyes or head toward a sound.
  • By 12 months, a child can usually imitate some sounds and produce a few words, such as “Mama” or “bye-bye.”

As your baby grows into a toddler, signs of a hearing loss may include:

  • limited, poor, or no speech
  • frequently inattentive
  • difficulty learning
  • seems to need increased TV volume
  • fails to respond to conversation-level speech or answers inappropriately to speech

At Audiology Island we specializes in pediatric Audiology.  We offer comprehensive, collaborative and individualized hearing healthcare to children from infancy to young adults to 21 years of age.  We provide state-of-the-art audiological services to diagnose, treat and habilitate children with hearing loss using evidence-based practices.  We work closely with doctors, educators, and speech/language pathologists in Staten Island as well as the whole Tri-State area.