Baby hearing

I'm concerned about baby hearing? How can I tell if my seven week old preemie does not have hearing issues? She sleeps through all kinds of loud noise.

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Test infant hearing
by: Dalene

Most parents rarely test infant hearing. Problem is, we all know that hearing is an integral part of baby speech development.

What this means is that your baby is fully dependent on the ability to hear for optimally developing her speech skills.

One of the very first steps we therefore need to do is to confirm that our baby can hear. By the way, this is also something that most experts encourage parents to do at a very early age. But performing a formal hearing test on your baby is often a fairly difficult activity. So, it is essential that we as parents first judge and test infant hearing.

My suggestion is to start checking and confirming that as soon as possible.

I can still remember with all my children we started checking and rechecking their hearing abilities literally within the first few weeks from birth.

But how do we do that?

Here are a few simple yet very effective ways to check baby hearing

1. Check whether your child is turning his head towards your vacuum cleaner, hair dryer, puree mixer, sharp noises and even when you call his name.

2. What worked well for us was to very quietly approach my baby from behind. This worked especially well when s/he was sitting or lying on the floor. Clap your hands about 2-3 feet (about 1 meter) behind your baby. See if s/he reacts. If so, hearing is probably OK. However, if s/he doesn't show any response whatsoever, you definitely need to reconfirm his/her ability to hear.

My personal preference is to do this infant hearing test more than once... just to make sure. Do this test a few days, say 7-10 days, apart.

3. Check if your baby looks at you when you are moving around. Your baby is curious and will normally follow you around by turning her eyes and head when you're talking to her.

4. Your baby should start imitating sounds between about 4 and 6 months. Oftentimes if this does not happen it may be the very first sign that your child can't really hear the sounds. That?s why she may not be able to imitate them.

What are the common signs that your child's hearing may be imperfect?

Here are 4 things to look for:

1. S/he shows no to very little response to any loud noises

2. S/he responds to only some sounds - not to all sounds. There are certain sounds where no noticeable response is seen.

3. S/he does not giggle or laugh out loud by roughly about the 6th month

4. S/he does not babble and try to talk in a variety of tones and sounds by roughly the 8th month

If you note one or more of these signals, make an appointment with your specialist and get it checked.

When it comes to infant hearing the Golden Rule also applies...

If any apparent delay is caught and treated early, it can invariably be successfully treated and will in most cases have little negative impact on further development.

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