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Early identification and intervention can help prevent further hearing loss so that your child can have the best hearing they can, which will help speech and language development. It can be hard to tell if a young child has any hearing loss. Working with your pediatrician, make note of whether your child responds to sounds or speech and be mindful of language development.
If your newborn wasn’t born in a hospital that screens for hearing, get their hearing checked within the first three weeks after birth. A newborn hearing test will determine whether a follow-up test is required within three months. If hearing loss is detected, treatment with a pediatric audiologist should begin right away.
Hearing screening tests usually are done at ages 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 years, then again in the preteen and teen years.
The list below is a basic guide for hearing and speech development from birth to age 3. It’s not a good idea to rely on hearing tests performed at home. Instead, talk to your pediatrician and alert them if your child doesn’t reach these hearing milestones:
For about one-quarter of babies with hearing loss, the cause is unknown. For about half the babies with hearing loss, the cause is genetic and there may be family members who have hearing loss. For about one-third of babies with genetic hearing loss, they may have other conditions, such as Down syndrome or Usher syndrome.
Additional risk factors include: