Parenting In Focus: Be aware of your child’s hearing

Most of us are very aware of hearing issues as our child’s grandparents age. An area we need to also be attentive to is the hearing of our children.

Your child’s ability to hear sounds clearly is the key to his learning language and his interaction with others. Hearing problems can stem from colds, ear infections or allergies and even from COVID. Treatment may be as simple as antibiotics or other medicine prescribed by your pediatrician or health care provider.

If hearing is not treated, an ear infection can get worse and cause hearing loss.

Very young infants can have their hearing tested if you have concerns. Sometimes when parents don’t know about a child’s hearing difficulties, they feel the child’s lack of response is really an example of their child’s stubbornness or a learning difficulty. You can easily overlook hearing issues and that can cause problems for your little one.

Have your child’s hearing tested if you answer “no” to any of the following questions:

Birth to 3 months: Is your baby startled by loud noises?

Three to 6 months: Does your child babble, coo or squeal?

Three to 6 months: Does your child sleep through loud noises?

Three to 6 months: Does your child respond to your voice or enjoy rattles or other noisy toys?

Six to 12 months: Does your child respond to his name?

Twelve to 18 months: Does your child understand “bye-bye” or “no”?

Twelve to 18 months: Can your child imitate simple words or sounds?

Two years: Can your child point to familiar objects when you ask?

Two years: Has your child started to talk?

If you have concerns about your child’s hearing or any part of his development, you may have your child participate in a developmental screening offered through the school district. There are several locations in Sequim and in Port Angeles that offer free hearing test for children.

Don’t just ignore your child’s hearing if you are worried. Have it checked now and do what you need to do to solve any problem you may have.

The same is true for vision. The American Optometric Association recommends that babies who have no symptoms of vision problems and are at low risk of having one should have their first eye exam at age six months old.

Your child’s health depends significantly on you. Who else would take your child for these checkups other than you? Ask around. You will find other moms who have done this and will send you to the right places. Check the internet. On the childhood vision site you will find numbers of people in your area who can help.

Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and former executive director of Parenting Matters Foundation, which published newsletters for parents, caregivers and grandparents.