Your baby may have gotten their hearing checked before leaving the hospital. However, that doesn’t mean you can cross this important screening off your list. Hearing tests should be part of their regular checkups well into their teen years to detect problems hearing or understanding sounds as early as possible.
Our team at Sharp Hearing Care Professionals devotes time and expertise to ensuring patients receive the highest quality personalized care. This includes explaining the importance of preventive care and treatment options, whether your child needs a routine hearing test or solutions for hearing problems.
Here’s what you should know about hearing tests for children and how often you should schedule them.
Why hearing tests matter
It’s easy to overlook the role hearing plays in a child’s development when you’re focused on all of the other factors that come into play, such as good nutrition, quality sleep, and routine vaccinations.
However, when children have trouble hearing or difficulty understanding sounds, it causes problems — especially with their speech, language, social, and learning skills — even with mild forms of hearing loss.
Fortunately, detecting hearing issues as early as possible ensures that they receive the interventions they need moving forward.
When to schedule a hearing test
In most cases, babies born in hospitals undergo hearing tests before being released to go home. If this isn’t the case for your child, you should schedule an appointment to check their hearing within four weeks of their birth. And don’t worry — this test is completely painless.
When a baby passes their first hearing test, additional screenings usually occur throughout childhood, typically:
- Annually from 4-6 years of age
- Twice during grade school, often ages 8 and 10
- Once as a preteen or early teen (11-14 years), once as a teen (15-17 years), and once as a young adult (18-21 years)
If your baby doesn’t pass their first hearing test, there’s no cause for panic. Instead, you’ll likely need to retest their hearing within three months. In these cases, your provider can offer personalized guidance on additional hearing assessments and testing.
Signs that your child needs a hearing test
While routine hearing tests are often part of a child’s regular health checkups, there are signs of hearing loss that you shouldn’t ignore. These symptoms vary depending on age but usually include:
- Not having a startle response to loud noises
- Not reacting to a parent’s voice by 3 months
- Not turning eyes or head toward sound by 6 months
- Not saying simple words or imitating sounds by 12 months
- Having delayed or difficult-to-understand speech by 15 months
- Having a ringing sound in their ears
- Needing to turn up the volume on devices like a TV or music player
- Having problems understanding what others say, especially in noisy environments
- Problems hearing high-pitched sounds
If you’ve noticed these symptoms in your child or have other concerns about hearing loss, don’t wait to schedule a hearing evaluation.
Remember, diagnosing a hearing problem ensures your child gets the personalized treatment they need, whether their hearing loss is temporary or permanent. And early detection enables us to get started as soon as possible.
Do you have questions about hearing tests and children? Contact the Sharp Hearing Care Professionals office nearest you to schedule an audiology consultation today.