Does Your Toddler Have a Hearing Problem? Signs to Watch For
Hearing problems can delay your child’s language development, making it more difficult to communicate and learn on the same level as other kids. And because children at this age are masters of selective hearing, it can be difficult to identify a true issue. If you’re concerned that your toddler is having trouble hearing, here are some signs they may benefit from a consultation with a professional with a medical sonography degree who can correctly evaluate the situation.
Check for Consistency
It’s normal for your toddler to keep on playing or ignore you when you offer a piece of broccoli or say that it’s time to leave the park. But if they don’t notice when you’re offering a favorite snack or activity, it could mean that hearing is compromised. Check to see when their hearing goes and if it is consistent in all situations.
Play Verbal Games
Between the ages of 1 and 3, your child should enjoy rhyming and song games like The Itsy Bitsy Spider and Patty Cake. By the same token, kids this age often love to dance and should respond to music. If you notice your child has no interest in these activities, it could be a sign they aren’t hearing well.
Look for Language Delays
While kids develop language at different speeds, delays in this area are cause for concern when it comes to hearing loss. Be wary if your child doesn’t recognize the names of favorite people or pets, attempt to imitate language, or say at least a few words. Your child should also be able to respond to simple commands and point to body parts or familiar objects when asked. While it’s normal for children to babble, and by the age of 24 months or so, there should be at least a few intelligible words mixed in. Be concerned if your child seems very hard to understand and has trouble communicating, even nonverbally.
Be Aware of Physical Symptoms
Sometimes, difficulty hearing in the toddler years is caused by an ear infection or blockage in the ear canal. Does your child often pull her ear, constantly seem cranky with no real reason, or tend to turn their head to one side when you’re speaking to them? Kids who have trouble hearing also may seem fatigued, show little interest in activities, or have difficulty paying attention.
The good news is that while childhood hearing issues are serious, they’re also often treatable. If you’re concerned that your child may not be hearing as well as they should, your family pediatrician can perform an evaluation and make a referral to a specialist if necessary.
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