Could Your Toddler have a Hearing Problem?

Posted by Jo Ann Schlicker on July 28, 2015

Could Your Toddler have a Hearing Problem?  

by Jo Ann Schlicker


Some hospitals screen babies for hearing problems before they go home. They ask the parents about the history of hearing problems or deafness in the family. They also ask about ear malformations in the family. They then recommend a follow-up with an audiology clinic when the baby is older.

Many cases are not recognized or slip through the cracks. Sometimes a child develops hearing loss from an illness. Your child does not pay attention to you and does not seem to care about things that you think they should. Is this a sign of a potential problem or is it just a kid being a kid?

At 12 to 18 months, he does not play nursery games like patty cake, does not recognize his name or the names of people, pets, and things he sees every day.  He does not point to body parts when you name them. Ask "where’s your nose?" and he does not joyfully respond by touching it. He does not come when you call him and does not babble much. He does not use words such as mama and dada, point to things or notice noisy things around him.

At 18 months, he should point to body parts when you ask. "Where is your nose?"

He should ask for help and play games such as patty-cake or peek-a-boo.

When he is 19-24 months he should babble with many real words mixed in. He should enjoy it when you read to him. He should understand prepositions such as over, under, into and know the names of toys, people, and pets that are part of his everyday world.  

By 24 months he should be able to follow directions, like "put the ball in the toy box."

He should be able to point to a picture in a book when you ask "Which one is a dog?"

He should be able to put two words together in a sentence.

At age 25 to 29 months he should be able to perform two part commands. Stories should interest him.

At the big boy age of 30-36 months he should  know concepts such as big and little, yours and mine and use some verbs, like run or play, in his sentences. He will soon drive you crazy with asking questions.

Even if you see some of these signs, it does not mean that the child has a hearing loss. It is only a signal that it needs to be investigated. Bring up any concerns about hearing or any other question with your pediatrician. She will advise you what to do next and what to look for.