Early Signs of Hearing Loss in Infants

1 to 3 out of every 1,000 babies born in the United States has hearing that’s not within the typical range. Infants may develop hearing loss or impairments at any stage, making it important to know and watch for various signs and symptoms. Here’s a look at some of the early signs of hearing loss in infants and what you can expect from a newborn hearing screening.

Newborn Hearing Test

A baby laying on a bed underneath a blanket

Usually conducted while a baby is still in the hospital or at their first checkup, newborn hearing tests help to ensure that babies with hearing impairment are diagnosed early so that they can begin intervention as soon as possible. Receiving treatment early is the best way to make a significant difference in a newborn’s language and communication development. Infants may fail their hearing tests for a variety of reasons, and further testing may be necessary.

Signs of Hearing Loss Based on a Baby’s Age

Although initial newborn hearing tests are conducted very early in a child’s life, some babies who pass their first hearing screenings may still develop issues later in their infancy. Based on your child’s age, there are several signs of hearing loss to watch for:

From Birth to 4 Months

Very young infants with hearing loss may not be startled or awakened by loud noises. They may also not coo, smile, or otherwise respond to the sound of human voices. Infants aged birth to 4 months with hearing loss may also not stop crying and calm down, even at the sound of a familiar voice.

4 to 9 Months Old

When babies reach between 4 and 9 months old, they generally become more talkative and interact with the world around them. If your child has hearing loss or impairment, he or she may not babble or communicate using baby talk, avoid smiling or responding when you speak, and may not understand gestures such as waving goodbye. Babies with hearing loss in this stage may also not respond to noisy toys and may not be aware of your presence if you’re out of their field of vision.

9 to 15 Months Old

Babies aged 9 to 15 months old may not cry or make other noises to get your attention if they have hearing loss. They may also not respond to their name being called, or they may refuse to mimic or repeat sounds and words that others use. Basic instructions like “no” may also be ignored if your child has hearing loss or impairment.

15 to 20 Months Old?

In the ages of 15 to 20 months, babies with hearing loss often refuse to attempt simple words and show no interest in listening to music or other audio-based stimuli. They also may be unable to follow simple directions and identify familiar objects and body parts when adults name them.

Schedule an Appointment With an Audiologist

If you suspect that your infant may have hearing loss or impairment, it’s important to consult an audiologist as soon as possible to provide early intervention. At Associated Hearing Professionals, we provide a range of services to help with adult hearing loss, including hearing tests and assistance with many different kinds of hearing aids. To schedule an appointment at our Chesterfield or St. Louis clinic or to learn more, call 314-725-2686.