Hearing Loss: Early Intervention Helps Kids Communicate

The auditory (hearing) system is mature at birth. Children with normal hearing begin to learn language as soon as they are born and are most receptive to learning language during the first 12 to 18 months of life, before they are able to talk.

Did you know that:

  • Babies who are deaf or hard of hearing at birth may not be able to use their hearing to learn language
  • These babies usually do not have other medical problems and often achieve normal early milestones, including babbling
  • 90% of babies who are born deaf or hard of hearing have parents who hear normally
  • Using hearing aids or being exposed to sign language can enable children who are deaf or hard of hearing to develop language
  • It is critical to identify hearing loss as early as possible so that babies can be consistently exposed to language
  • Deaf and hard-of-hearing infants enrolled in appropriate early intervention services by 6 months of age are likely to have normal language and cognitive development

Some children develop hearing loss after they are born. So if you are concerned about a child's hearing, she should have an audiogram, even if she passed hearing screening during infancy. Older children with hearing loss may benefit from individualized educational plans and accommodations in the educational setting.

Help all kids keep their ears and hearing healthy by avoiding excessive noise exposure and head trauma. These are the main preventable causes of hearing loss.

If you are concerned about your child's hearing, contact Children's Audiology Clinic at 206-987-5173 for a evaluation, even if your child has passed the newborn screening tests.