Does my child need a hearing evaluation?

As a pediatric Audiologist one of the most common concerns I hear from parents is that their child doesn’t always respond consistently to voices and other auditory stimuli. It’s often hard for parents to discern whether their child did not hear them or simply was not listening or attending to what was said. More often than not it is the latter, especially if you've got a toddler or teenager at home. However, even if your child passed a newborn hearing screening, that does not mean they will never have difficulty hearing in their lifetime. Hearing can change over time, and children especially are prone to fluctuating hearing loss due to ear infections.

Just like with speech and language and motor development, there are auditory milestones every typically developing child should achieve by a certain age. If you have concerns regarding your child’s hearing, referring to these milestones may help you and your child’s pediatrician decide whether a referral to an Audiologist is warranted.

The American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) has an excellent guide to both auditory and speech/language milestones here.

It’s important to remember these milestones are guidelines and not hard and fast rules. Every child is different and may not achieve every milestone by that exact age. Many factors can influence auditory and speech/language development, including language exposure. One of the best ways to foster auditory skills and language development is to talk with your child as much as possible. Reading with your child is also an excellent way to help with auditory and language development.