The baby’s ability to hear is the base of his ability to learn and interact with the society. But if it is your first time to be a parent, it will not be easy for you to know if your baby has a hearing problem. Of course, a hearing screening is the most important early step any parent can take to know if his baby’s hearing is impaired, but parents also need to be alert for warning signs. Although the signs of hearing loss and the extent of hearing impairment can vary from a baby to another, as a parent you should immediately see your baby’s doctor if you notice any of the following early warning signs of hearing loss in your baby.
1. Doesn’t Respond to Loud Sounds: In fact, this signs is one of the early warning signs of a hearing problem in babies who are newborn to 3-months of age. Babies in this age should startle in response to loud sounds such as the bang of falling objects, music, a dog barking, and loud voices.
2. Isn’t Soothed by Soft Vowels: Most babies will also be attracted to the soothing sound of soft vowels. Those long drawn ooos, ahhhhs, and ohhhs will calm most crying or fussy babies and around 2 to 3-months of age you will notice baby starting to mimic your vowel sounds (i.e., ohhhs).
3. Doesn’t Enjoy Making Noise: As babies find their voices and learn that humans respond to their screams, laughs, and cries, they will start to find enjoyment in making noise. For example, you will notice babies shaking objects like rattles, bell, and squeeze toys, because they enjoy the sound it makes. If they don’t start to make noise by 4 to 5 months, they may have hearing difficulties.
4. Lack of Babbling: Most of the babies who are 4 to 6 month old constantly babble—either to themselves as well as back at mom, dad, siblings, and family members who speak to them. During this time period, babies use their hearing to start to imitate words and communicate out loud with their loved ones.
5. Doesn’t respond to “no” and changes in tone of voice: At about 6 to 7 months of age, most babies will be able to differentiate between tones of voice. For instance, a baby may not respond to a sharp “no” at 3 months because they don’t understand the tone is negative. However, by about 6 months a baby with healthy hearing should appear to understand your “no” and the tone that’s applied to the word.