Since 2006, all babies born in Somerset have had their hearing screened in their first few weeks. But, sometimes children will develop hearing loss later.
The signs that your child may be having problems with their hearing
You can find information about the signs of hearing loss in the personal child health record (red book) and they include
- Delayed speech
- Mishearing and mispronouncing words
- Not hearing what’s going on if there’s background noise
- Problems with concentrating, tiredness and frustration that affects their behaviour
- Preferring to play alone
- Difficulties with reading and learning
- Wanting the volume of the TV higher than other members of their family
Many children with mild deafness seem to manage extremely well. Their speech and language development is normal in the early years and they do well at school. But, for a significant number, mild deafness can have an adverse impact on their development and progress at school.
It is important to identify any problems as early as possible so that action can be taken to help the child.
In older children, signs of a possible hearing problem can include
- Inattentiveness or poor concentration
- Not responding when their name is called
- Talking loudly and listening to the television at a high volume
- Difficulty pinpointing where a sound is coming from
- Mispronouncing words
- A change in their progress at school
What parents should do if they think their child is struggling
If you have concerns about your child’s hearing before or after starting school, we advise that you speak to your health visitor (if the child is under 5) or doctor, who can arrange for the child to see an audiologist.
The audiologist should be able to tell you whether the child has a hearing problem, and what the options are for managing it.
It is also a good idea to discuss any problems with your child’s teacher. Teachers have been told about the signs to look out for if they suspect a child is struggling to hear, and to contact the child’s parents and agree a plan to help.