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Can Your Child Hear?

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Joseph B Touma, MD

Between birth and age 4, a child learns to communicate by understanding and talking. To accomplish this, he or she must be able to hear normally.

The following are
guidelines to the normal development of a child’s
ability to communicate:

From birth to 3 months, a child will be startled by loud noises and react to a parent’s voice.
From 3 to 6 months, a child will try to locate the source of a sound, respond to a parent’s voice, initiate some sounds and enjoy toys that make noise.

From 6 to 10 months, a child should respond when his or her name is mentioned, respond to some sounds in the environment and understand common words, such as “no”.

From 10 to 15 months, a child should initiate simple words and be able to point to familiar objects when asked .

From 15 to 18 months, a child should follow simple spoken directions and formulate a few words.

If a 2-year-old child cannot use short phrases, is undisturbed by loud sounds, does not respond when called by name or is uninterested in the surrounding environment, there is a good chance he or she has a hearing impairment.

German measles during pregnancy, ear infections, meningitis, familial deafness, low birth weight, Rh incompatibility, high fever, jaundice, birth trauma or low oxygenation at birth are some causes of hearing loss in young children. Parents and pediatricians should pay careful attention to a child’s development. After age 2, middle ear infections which can affect hearing are common. If a child suddenly loses interest in the surrounding environment, has earaches or drainage from the ears, does not respond to television or turns the volume up, have a doctor evaluate your child’s condition.

It is important to remember that modern equipment can detect a hearing loss at birth, even if a child is premature. In older children, a hearing test (audiogram) can detect any impairment. It is important to keep in mind that if a hearing loss is discovered early, today’s medical advances, such as training, hearing aids and surgery, may enable such a child to lead a normal and productive life. If you have any doubts about your child’s hearing, consult a pediatrician or ear specialist.

For additional information or to make an appointment, please contact River Cities Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists, P.L.L.C. at (304) 522-8800 or (800) 955-3277.

Joseph B. Touma, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Touma Ear and Balance Center
1616 13th Avenue, Suite 100
Huntington, WV 25701
304.522.8800 or 800.955.3277