Why Is Early Childhood Hearing Screening Important for Your Child?
Around two to four of every 1,000 children in the United States are born deaf or hard-of-hearing, making hearing loss the most frequent birth disorder. Many studies have shown that early diagnosis of hearing loss is crucial to the development of speech, language, cognitive, and psychosocial capabilities. Treatment is most successful if hearing loss is identified early on, preferably within the first few months of life. Still, one in every four children born with serious hearing loss does not receive a diagnosis until 14 months old.
When Should a Child’s Hearing Be Tested?
The first chance to test a child’s hearing is in the hospital shortly after birth. If your child’s hearing is not screened before leaving the hospital, it is recommended that screening be done within the first month of life. If test results indicate a possible hearing loss, get a further evaluation as soon as possible, preferably within the first three to six months of life.
Is Early Hearing Screening Mandatory?
In recent years, health association across the country, including the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, has worked to highlight the significance of screening all newborns for hearing loss. These efforts are working. Recently, many states have passed Early Hearing Detection and Intervention legislation. A few other states regularly screen the hearing of most newborns, but have no legislation that necessitates screening. So, check with your local authority or hospital for screening regulations.
Signs of Hearing Loss in Children
Hearing loss can also happen later in childhood. In these cases, parents, grandparents, and other caregivers are often the first to notice that something may be wrong with a young child’s hearing. Even if your child’s hearing was tested as a newborn, you should continue to watch for signs of hearing loss, including:
- Not reacting in any way to unexpected loud noises,
- Not being awakened by loud noises,
- Not turning his/her head in the direction of your voice,
- Not being able to follow or understand directions,
- Poor language development, or
- Speaking loudly or not using age-appropriate language skills.