It’s been nearly a year since Grayson was diagnosed with Mild-Moderate Bilateral Sensioneural Hearing Loss. You can read more about our experience with that here. He received his hearing aids in July and has been improving leaps and bounds since then! If you’re familiar with his story, you’ll know that I suspected hearing loss for quite a while but was brushed off by his doctors for months. I was never told the signs of hearing loss, and since Grayson passed his newborn hearing screening, it was the last thing on my mind when I started having my suspicions.
Since I am currently expecting a little girl who could possibly have hearing loss, I wanted to put all of the early signs that I noticed in one place. Not only to be able to look back on them myself, but also for any mom who might be struggling with their own child’s loss. I’ve received several messages not only from readers via social media, but from friends of friends who suspect their child might have hearing loss.
When caught early enough in children, hearing loss can have a very minimal effect on not only their speech and language development, but their quality of life.
6 Signs Your Child May Have Hearing Loss
- Not Meeting Milestones on Time: This was one of my first concerns with Grayson, but it’s important to note that it doesn’t always mean hearing loss—it could just mean that your child is mildly delayed or that they could have a different issue that needs addressing. He wasn’t terribly behind on his milestones, but he was consistently one to two months behind. When it came to walking, he was really late. (It has to do with their equilibrium being thrown off because of their hearing loss). When it came to talking, I noticed that some of the sounds he was making sounded “off”, which leads me to Number 2.
- Unable to Imitate Sounds/Words: When Grayson began talking, several words and sounds either sounded muffled when he used them, or came out wrong. (IE: G’s sounding like F’s) Speech Development in boys is often slower than girls, and while this could be normal, if you suspect that your child isn’t hearing sounds and words correctly– bring it up with their pediatrician.
- Speaks Loudly or Yells Often: Before Grayson was properly aided, and even sometimes now, he speaks very loudly and yells in normal conversation. I think it’s so that he can hear himself? But, I’m not entirely sure. We’ve been trying to work on lowering his voice recently, just because he’s so used to talking so loud.
- Doesn’t Respond When Called or Doesn’t Turn Head Towards Sounds: Depending on your child’s age, this one can be tricky to decipher if it’s a hearing loss or just an attention issue. However, we started noticing that when we called Grayson’s name it was like he didn’t hear us until we raised our voices. Often times he didn’t hear loud noises like the dishwasher or loud neighbors. Play around with different pitches and volumes to see if that elicits a response.
- Unable to Keep Focus/Attention in Crowds or When TV/Radio is On: Again, depending on your child’s age this could either be hearing loss or an attention issue.
- Fidgets with or sticks fingers into Ears: We started to notice that Grayson was hitting his ears, sticking his fingers inside of them, etc. on a daily basis. He would also stick his fingers into his ears when he talked, which we’re assuming helped him to hear what he was saying better. While this could just be a sign of an ear infection or fluid on the ears, it’s best to get it checked out if your child is fidgeting with their ears.
Grayson’s hearing loss is so mild that these are all signs I could have easily missed. I’ve been told several times that adults often come in with that mild of a loss, after going years without realizing. Because of this, I always tell Moms when they ask–If you THINK something might be going on with your child’s hearing, take them in. I’m a firm believer in mother’s intuition. You know your child better than anyone.
There are many reasons why your child might have a hearing loss–from trauma in the ear to genetics. In Grayson’s case, his loss is genetic–which does mean that there’s a chance our future children will have a hearing loss as well.
Either way, if you suspect that your child may have a form of hearing loss, one of the first steps that I suggest would be to discuss it with your child’s pediatrician. Their pediatrician should refer you to either an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) Doctor or an Audiology Clinic for a hearing evaluation.
If you’re local to us–in or around Nashville, Tennessee, I 100% recommend the Bill Wilkerson Center at Vanderbilt. Every single Audiologist and Speech Language Pathologist that we’ve had the pleasure of meeting have been absolutely incredible to us and to Grayson.
My email and social media profiles are always 100% open to messages! If you have any questions or concerns regarding your child’s hearing, or even just want to chat about it with me–please reach out to me any time!