Hearing loss can show up at any age. It is often difficult to detect, especially in young children.
Following are typical developmental milestones in children with normal hearing. Babies and young children with hearing loss may not achieve these milestones:
0 to 3 months — The child blinks, startles, moves with loud noises, and quiets down at the sound of the parent's voice.
4 to 6 months — The child turns his or her head to the side toward voices or other noises, and makes musical sounds ("ooh," "ah"). The child appears to listen and then responds as if having a conversation.
7 to 12 months — The child turns his or her head in any direction toward sounds, babbles ("ba," "ga," "bababa," "lalala," etc.), and says "mama," "dada" (though not specific to mom or dad).
13 to 15 months — The child points; uses "mama," "dada" correctly, and follows one-step commands.
16 to 18 months — The child uses single words.
19 to 24 months — The child points to body parts when asked, puts two words together ("want cookie," "no bed"). Half of the child's words are understood by strangers.
25 to 36 months — The child uses three- to five-word sentences. Three-quarters of the child's words are understood by strangers.
37 to 48 months — Almost all of the child's speech is understood by strangers.
Indications of hearing loss in older children can include:
Listening to the television or radio at a higher volume than other children
Sitting especially close to the television when the volume is adequate for others in the room
Asking to have things repeated
Having difficulty with school work
Having speech and language problems
Exhibiting poor behavior
Complaining of difficulty hearing or blocked ears