Within just months of their birth, most babies begin to hear sounds and recognise the rhythm and melody of voices. They often react to cooing sounds when someone talks to them…but what happens if they don’t?
As children get older, their hearing ability plays an important role in developing speech and language skills. An undetected and untreated hearing problem can have a devastating effect on their ability to learn spoken language. This can eventually hamper their schooling, education, career prospects, relationships and general quality of life.
In the past, often went undetected until they were around two years old – until it became obvious that he or she hasn’t started talking yet. However, with the advent of new and cost-effective technologies, hearing impairment can be identified and treated at a much younger age.
The following communication milestones can help parents and guardians read all the early signs of hearing loss in a child.
1. Newborn children get startled and jump in response to sudden loud noises, even if they are asleep. They might also try to turn towards the direction of the sound. If you happen to notice that your baby isn’t responding to loud noises, consider it a red flag.
2. A, E, I, O and U – we all are familiar with the five vowels. In fact, most babies start uttering these very early. While the inability to make vowel sounds does not confirm a hearing disability, it may indicate a problem with speech. Either way, it’s worth a visit to your pediatrician’s clinic.
3. Babies are fascinated by sounds, including music and conversations. Our world is a very noisy place, and a newborn should respond to these noises. Pay close attention to how your child reacts when a cell phone rings, or a car honks nearby.
4. In the first 4-8 months of growing up, babbling is the official language of babies – their preferred form of communication. The absence of babbling is one of the most clear signs of your little one having a hearing impairment.
5. Another form of hearing impairment occurs when your baby is capable of hearing, but responds to only a certain set of sounds. This is a case of selective listening.
6. If your child only reacts to vibrating sounds such as a cell-phone or a dryer, he or she may have a problem. Some babies with hearing impairment respond only to such sounds.
7. By the time your child is 12 months old, they should have learned their name. If they don’t yet respond to their name, they might not be hearing you at all.
8. The first words of a baby are magical for parents all around the world. By the time your child is one, they should be uttering single words like ‘ma-ma’ and ‘da-da’. If they don’t, it may be a warning call.Let’s not forget that all of these are just warning signs. They don’t guarantee anything. However, if you suspect anything, consulting a doctor is never a bad idea.
Detecting a hearing impairment as early as possible is a crucial step for your child’s overall development. We, at Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan, encourage parents to make their child undergo various processes for detection. If your child is born with a hearing loss or develops it at a later stage, he or she can still succeed in life and fulfill all their dreams. That’s precisely why we have special classes for students to learn sign language and acquire special skills through training.
Take a look at our special children teaching us the basics of sign language communication: