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Back to school advice for parents

 For many of us it is back to the routine of another school year as we start another year of daycare,
preschool, grade school and extracurricular activities. As parents this is a time of anxiety, others
excitement and for some parents, concern as to whether or not their child is hearing properly. This
article aims to help arm parents with knowledge and understanding into their children’s hearing
development and the signs you shouldn’t ignore.

New Brunswick has been doing universal newborn infant hearing screening for more than 10 years.
This is something to be very proud of. However, even with a pass at birth, this does not guarantee a
child will never experience hearing difficulty.

Hearing is not all or none. For many hearing changes are gradual and typical signs are missed. It is not until hindsight that it becomes obvious that a child may not be hearing well. When hearing loss occurs the child misses out on the learning experience, whether it is play in daycare, academics in school or skills in sports and other activities. If you suspect any hearing difficulty with your child, a child you are taking care of or a student in your class or activity you should have that child’s hearing tested as soon as possible. Many children listen to learn in all situations not just school and if a child is not hearing well, listening becomes work, and the child is now working on listening and missing out on the learning.

There are some signs that merit having a child’s hearing looked at. Since hearing is most critical during the first few years I will mention a basic sign for each age group.

  • Within 6 months an infant should startle, cry or wake up with a sudden loud sound.
  • 7-12 months a child should turn or look around you when you call his/her name.
  • 1-2 years children should be talking and be able to point to familiar things or body parts when
    asked without seeing your lips.
  • 2-3 years a child should be able to follow 2 sequential requests, “get your red sneakers and put them by the door”.
  • 3-4 years are able to repeat a whisper and hear you calling from another room, without too
    much competing noises or activities.
  • 4-5 years able to pays attention to a simple story

What are some warning signs?

  • Infants are preprogrammed to learn language and will start babbling even when they cannot
    hear. So if an infant stops babbling have this looked into.
  • For preverbal children middle ear concerns interfere with hearing. These types of hearing loss
    are often associated with sinus concerns, fever and pulling on the ears, frequently colds or tonsil and adenoid complications.
  • Does not say single words by 12 months
  • For older children not being able to understand someone unless he/she is facing them. Turns up the volume of the television or radio at a level that is disturbing other listeners. 
  • Needs things to be repeated. Remember the earlier we can detect hearing concerns the less impact it will have on your child’s development. If you suspect a hearing problem make an appointment with your audiologist.

For more on hearing health for children go to www.caslpa.ca or www.communicationnb.ca


Hearing is not all or none”


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