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Hearing Loss: When to Call the Pediatrician

Here are the signs and symptoms that should make you suspect that your child has a hearing loss and alert you to call your pediatrician.

  • Your child doesn’t startle at loud noises by one month or turn to the source of a sound by three to four months of age. 
  • He doesn’t notice you until he sees you.
  • He concentrates on gargling and other vibrating noises that he can feel, rather than experimenting with a wide variety of vowel sounds and consonants. 
  • His speech is delayed or hard to understand, or he doesn’t say single words such as “dada” or “mama” by twelve to fifteen months of age. 
  • He doesn’t always respond when called. (This is usually mistaken for inattention or resistance, but could be the result of a partial hearing loss.)
  • He seems to hear some sounds but not others. (Some hearing loss affects only high-pitched sounds; some children have hearing loss in only one ear.) 
  • He seems not only to hear poorly but also has trouble holding his head steady, or is slow to sit or walk unsupported. (In some children with sensorineural hearing loss, the part of the inner ear that provides information about balance and movement of the head is also damaged.)
Last Updated
Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5 (Copyright © 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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