Hearing Loss in Children: The Importance of Early Intervention

While hearing loss is usually associated with older people, it can actually affect people at any age – including children. In fact, some people are born with it. This can greatly impact their development, from learning to speak to coping in a school setting.

Detecting auditory impairment in your child can be tough at first, especially when they’re very young. You might find that they’re not responding to conversation or sounds, or a medical professional or teacher may pick it up. As a parent or guardian, this shouldn’t be a cause for panic but rather a call to action. The earlier you can identify and address any auditory issues, the better you can support your child. A comprehensive intervention can have far-reaching benefits well into their adult lives.

Understanding Childhood Hearing Loss

Hearing loss doesn’t happen the same way for every child. It can be congenital (present from birth) or a manifestation of a genetic condition. Children can also develop an impairment from illness or exposure to loud noises. Over 12% of children in America have noise-induced hearing loss.

There are four categories of hearing loss. The first is “conductive,” which means something is preventing sounds from getting through the outer or middle ear. This can often be corrected with surgery or medication. “Sensorineural” describes an issue in the inner ear or auditory nerves. Sometimes, it’s described as “mixed,” or a combination of conductive and sensorineural. Finally, it can be caused by Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder, where the issue is how the brain processes sounds.


Any of these categories can manifest before or after a child has learned to speak. It might be progressive or sudden, but both are equally worthy of attention. Whether it is congenital or acquired, there are a few signs to look out for. For babies, note if they aren’t startled by sudden loud noises or don’t recognize their parents’ voices by three months. If they aren’t imitating sounds and simple words by their first birthday, get them assessed.

Early Intervention Strategies & Resources

If you even suspect your child might have trouble hearing, start with a visit to the audiologist. A thorough evaluation can determine if any auditory impairment is present and to what degree. Hearing loss may manifest in one ear or both and range from mild to profound.

Depending on the type your child is experiencing, there are a few strategies that can be adopted. Cochlear and auditory brainstem implants have been transformative for many children with profound loss. Many children also benefit greatly from hearing aids. Once a child is able to read, other assistive tools like captioning and text messaging can be helpful.

Resources for Parents of Children with Hearing Loss

In New York, all newborn babies will be checked at the hospital or referred to a specialist to do so. Every state has an Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Program, providing access to screenings and supportive resources for parents and guardians. There are also schools for Deaf or hard-of-hearing children. Your audiologist can introduce you to other helpful resources in your area.

Specialists and allied health professionals can offer support for your child. Reach out to pediatric audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and specialized early childhood educators. It’s worth looking into your health insurance to find out your options. In addition, what you do at home with your child can be incredibly beneficial.

Get The Support You Need at HearWell Services

Early detection can make a big difference for any condition or illness, and this is no exception. Early screenings have become the standard to increase the probability of picking up even mild hearing loss in children. A diagnosis enables parents to become champions for their child’s development. 

Anyone would be worried by the thought that their child may have any auditory impairment. The best way to combat anxiety over your child’s health and wellness is to take action. Regular screenings help you stay on top of your child’s auditory health (and yours, too!). HearWell Services supports you at every step of your child’s hearing loss journey. From assessments to finding the right hearing aid devices, we’re on your side. Reach out and schedule an appointment with one of our caring professionals today.