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MedEd Connections Resource Guide: Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH)

Passed, Yet Still Concerned

There are various causes of hearing loss that may not be caught with a hearing screening. It is important to trust your intuition and follow up with your family doctor if you suspect a hearing loss. Here are some milestones to look for in the first year of life:

  • Most newborn infants startle or "jump" to sudden loud noises.
  • By 3 months, a baby usually recognizes a parent's voice and may smile or show some form of recognition.
  • By 6 months, a baby can usually turn his or her eyes or head toward a sound.
  • By 12 months, a baby can usually imitate some sounds and produce a few words, such as “mama,” or “bye-bye.” If you are not seeing your child meet these milestones, consult with your family doctor.

Children may acquire a hearing loss later in life from infections. Because hearing loss can occur later in life, it is important to pay attention to your child’s reaction to sound as he or she grows.

Another hearing condition which may not be caught by a screening is known as auditory processing disorder (APD). APD is a condition in which the ear is receiving sound, but the brain does not understand the noise it is receiving.

If you have concerns about your child’s hearing, don’t wait. Contact your family doctor or make an appointment with an audiologist. An audiologist is a professional who diagnoses and treats hearing and balance problems in people of all ages. The school or your family doctor will probably provide you with a list of audiologists so you can schedule a hearing evaluation. You could also find a pediatric audiologist (one who specializes in young children) through this directory organized by Ohio counties. The “hearing evaluation”, also called a “diagnostic hearing evaluation” is simply a more detailed test that can help determine if your child has a hearing loss.

Missing a hearing loss may affect a child’s language development, and also his or her educational achievement, literacy levels, and social-emotional development. So, following the recommendations from your doctor, and following up with an audiologist is important for your child’s development if a hearing loss is suspected.

Want more information about hearing evaluations and possible causes of hearing loss?
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You may also want more information about the Ohio Department of Health’s (ODH) Infant Hearing program. ODH’s mission is to protect and improve the health of all Ohioans.