Hearing plays an essential role in a child’s social, emotional and cognitive development during the first few years of growing up. Full or even partial loss of hearing can severely impact a child’s capacity to learn how to speak or comprehend language.
The condition though, can be treated and it is highly recommended that a baby be evaluated as early as 3 months old.
When Should Hearing Be Evaluated?
Although most inborn hearing conditions are detected by hearing screening, defects complicated by infections, trauma, and damaging noise levels can still manifest in later childhood, which is why it is important that children be evaluated and diagnosed for hearing loss while growing up.
Most states will require a hearing screening before a newborn is discharged from the hospital. If your baby is not provided this test, in cases where birthing takes place at home or a t a birthing center, one should be administered within the first 3 weeks of birth.
Fluids or debris in the ear can cause a baby to fail a hearing screening and it is normal to have a retest to confirm the diagnosis. Retests should be done within 3 months so that treatments can proceed immediately if indeed the condition is present as treatments work best if done within the first 6 months of a child’s life.
Tests should still be carried out regularly even if a child does not show any signs of hearing loss. Ideally you should have your kid checked at at ages 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 18.
You should immediately consult with your doctor if you suspect that your child is suffering from any speech or aural impediment, or if speech development is being stunted.