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5 Speech Development Warning Signs

About 10 percent of all children have difficulty learning language. Experts encourage parents to make sure their child's hearing isn't impaired and that his speech development falls within the normal range. Here are five warning signs you should watch for.

1. Your newborn doesn't startle at sounds. Most hospitals now check a newborn's hearing before he is discharged from the nursery. But if your baby doesn't seem startled by loud sounds, bring this to your pediatrician's attention.

2. Your baby doesn't follow you with her eyes when you speak. Babies are genetically programmed to want to learn human speech and to interact with human faces. If your infant never seems to look at you when you talk to her, she may have a hearing impairment.

3. Your baby is not babbling by 7 months. Most babies begin uttering those treasured "mamama" and "dadada" sounds between 4 and 6 months of age. A baby who isn't babbling may not be hearing well enough to imitate sounds.

4. Your baby hasn't said any words by 19 months. While some babies voice their cherished first word at 10 months, others say their first word at 18 months. The typical 18-month-old, however, has a vocabulary of about 50 words.

5. Your child is not using two words together by age 2 1/2. Most children start using two-word combinations by 18 to 22 months. If a child isn't putting two words together by age 2 1/2, that's a red flag for language delay.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.