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What are the signs of hearing loss?
From birth to 3 months:
• Your baby doesn't respond or awaken to loud, sudden noises.
• Your baby isn't soothed by your voice.
From 3 to 6 months:
• Your baby doesn't look at you or react when you talk, sing, or make funny noises.
• Your baby doesn't turn her head to see where a sound has come from.
From 6 to 10 months:
• Your baby isn't babbling or attempting to imitate and match sounds like "ga" and "da."
• Your baby doesn't respond to her name.
From 10 to 15 months:
• Your baby can't locate or point to familiar objects when asked.
• Your baby doesn't understand simple sentences like "Where's the kitty?"
From 15 to 18 months:
• Your baby doesn't recognize words for common things, like parts of the body, in response to questions.
• Your baby doesn't say a few simple words.
• Your baby can't follow simple spoken directions.
If your notice any of these issues, give your pediatrician a call, since the earlier hearing loss is diagnosed, the more likely treatments like hearing aids, speech therapy, and cochlear implants (surgically implanted devices that provide a sense of sound) will help prevent speech and language delays. In fact, one study found that children whose hearing loss was detected by 6 months had normal language skills by age 3, while children who were diagnosed later were more likely to be behind. --Julie Evans
Originally published in American Baby magazine, November 2004. Updated 2009.
The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.