How Do I Know If My Baby Can Hear?
Can my baby hear is a question that many new parents do not think of right away. When your baby is born you count fingers and toes, look at the color of his or her eyes and marvel at how little or how much hair your baby has. Very rarely does a parent wonder if their son or daughter has a hearing impairment.
Studies have shown that it is important to your baby's development to diagnose a hearing impairment as early as possible. This is because the ability to hear is vital to your baby's abilities to develop his or her word formation, language skills, as well as the ability to develop his or her social skills.
That is why it is so important that your baby be tested before he or she leaves the maternity ward to go home. If your hospital does not test your baby you should make sure your pediatrician tests him or her. This should be done no later than his or her first or second well baby visit. It is relatively inexpensive to test the hearing of a newborn and consequently it is easier to help your child if he or she is diagnosed with a hearing impairment.
You will find that babies are born with the ability to hear almost as well as an adult. You may be able to tell if your baby can hear because he or she will turn towards you when you speak or will be startled by a loud noise. It is not easy to identify hearing problems in your infant, but if you feel that there is a problem by all means speak to your healthcare provider. You may notice that your baby does not turn his or her head towards a sound or that even a loud noise fails to rouse him or her. It should be noted that all babies will repeat certain consonants and babble. This does not necessarily mean that your child is learning to talk. If he or she has a hearing impairment your child will not progress past that stage. They will not be able to move from babbling to actual speech. By the time your baby is twelve months old he or she will be able to say their first words. From about sixteen months on they will be amassing a large vocabulary and begin to form sentences. If you find that your child is unable to perform these functions he or she may not be able to hear. If you are at all concerned please contact your pediatrician.
Your pediatrician will recommend that your baby be given a series of tests that will assess his or her ability to hear. Your baby may be given a test called the ABR or the brainstem auditory evoked response. This test will measure your child's brain wave patterns.
If your baby is older he or she may be tested with a behavioral hearing test. This is where sounds and your child's reactions to those sounds will determine the extent, if any of the hearing impairment.
It is important that you contact your healthcare provider if you feel that your child has any hearing impairment and that any and all testing be performed by a qualified audiologist who is used to working with children and babies.