Discover Your Child's Hearing

Having a hearing loss does not put an end to a child’s ability to enjoy all the sounds of life if amplification and support are provided early. By acting early and selecting the right technological solutions, children will have access to speech and language as well as other important sounds.

Genetic factors and many diseases can cause hearing loss. Treatment for serious illnesses can also cause hearing loss. Environmental factors including head trauma can cause hearing loss. Sometimes the hearing loss is caused by a combination of factors.

About 50% of infant hearing loss is due to genetic factors. A genetic factor can be inherited or non-inherited and refers to the “code” that determines the unique characteristics of your baby. Twenty-five percent of infant hearing losses are non-genetic.

The remaining 25% are due to unknown causes. Learning about possible causes of hearing loss can help you provide specific information to professionals. The more information professionals have, the more likely they can help you find answers to your questions.

The following milestones are rough "rules of thumb" for the majority of children. If your child is more than 2-3 months delayed compared to the age-groups mentioned below, it might indicate hearing loss or delayed speech-language development.

9 months

Demonstrate an understanding of simple words "mommy", "daddy", "no", "bye-bye".

10 months

Babbling should sound "speech like", with single syllables strung together ("da-da-da-da"). The first recognizable words emerge at about this time.

1 year

One or more real words spoken.

18 months

Understand simple phrases, retrieve familiar objects on command (without gestures) and point to body parts. Also should have a spoken vocabulary between 20 and 50 words and use short phrases ("no more", "go out", "mommy up").

24 months

Spoken vocabulary should be at least 150 words, coupled with the emergence of simple two word sentences. Most speech should be understandable to adults who are not with the child daily. Toddlers also should be able to sit and listen to read-aloud picture books.

3 to 5 years

Spoken vocabulary should be at least 150 words, coupled with the emergence of simple two word sentences. Most speech should be understandable to adults who are not with the child daily. Toddlers also should be able to sit and listen to read-aloud picture books.

An audiologic evaluation can help determine if a hearing loss exists in one or both ears at frequencies (pitches) that are critical to normal speech and language development, and if the hearing loss is conductive or sensorineural. » Pediatric hearing tests

If you have discovered that your child has a hearing loss there are professionals ready to offer support and guidance. Increasingly services for children with hearing impairment recognize and respect the role of the family. As parents your opinions and needs are of utmost importance. The family physician is the first port of call but you may meet a range of professionals who have different areas of expertise.

Below is a list of some of the people you may meet.

Audiologist

ENT physician

Speech-language pathologist, therapist

Hearing instrument dispenser, acoustician

Educational audiologist

Pediatrician

Psychologist