If you suspect that your child has hearing loss and have set up an appointment with your pediatrician to have your child's hearing tested, you have some work to do before your child's hearing test. By observing your child and noting your observations, you can help your pediatrician more fully understand your child's hearing situations and make informed decisions about how to move forward. Here are four things that you should observe before your child's formal hearing test and share with your child's pediatrician.
#1: How Your Child Responds to Stories and Songs
When most children hear an engaging song or have a story read to them, they become engaged in the sounds. Most young children are capable of listening to a song or a short story. Pay attention to how your child acts when you try to sing a short song with them or when you try to read them a short story. Note if your child becomes engaged in the activity or if their attention is elsewhere.
#2: How Your Child Responds to Soft Noises
You want to be able to see how your child responds to soft noises. Stand a couple of feet behind your child and softly whisper their name. See if your child hears you and turns their head in response to you saying their name. Try standing more to both the left and right of your child and whispering their name; this will help you see if their hearing seems to be stronger in one ear or another.
#3: How Your Child Responds to Loud Noises
You are also going to want to know how your child reacts to loud noises. Generally, young children are startled by loud noises and want to figure out what happened. Drop a pan within the vicinity of your child and see how your child reacts. They should either become upset because they found the loud noise jarring or adjust their body to try and figure out where the noise came from and what it is.
#4: How Your Child Speaks
Finally, pay attention to how your child talks. Note the speed with which your child talks; sometimes, children with hearing loss will speak at a slower speed than their peers. Pay attention to their vocabulary. Write down what words you hear your child say; remember, though, that a small vocabulary is not necessarily a sign of hearing loss, as all children develop at different rates, but this information could be informative. If you can, try to record your child talking and listening in environments where they feel comfortable so that your child's doctor can observe the same things you are.
Write down observations and notes for the four points above, and make sure that you spend some time sharing them with your doctor. You will be able to better observe your child over time than your doctor can in one short visit; the information you provide can be vital toward developing a treatment plan for your child.
If you haven't already, make an appointment with a healthcare provider such as Desert Knolls Hearing Center so you can relay your observations.