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Helpful Information from the CDC on Hearing Loss in Children

What is Hearing Loss in Children?

Original post in English

Doctor examining toddler's ear with mom smiling

Hearing Loss in Children

Hearing loss can affect a child’s ability to develop speech, language, and social skills. The earlier children with hearing loss start getting services, the more likely they are to reach their full potential. If you think that a child might have hearing loss, ask the child’s doctor for a hearing screening as soon as possible. Don’t wait!

What is Hearing Loss?

A hearing loss can happen when any part of the ear is not working in the usual way. This includes the outer ear, middle ear, inner ear, hearing (acoustic) nerve, and auditory system.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of hearing loss are different for each child. If you think that your child might have hearing loss, ask the child’s doctor for a hearing screening as soon as possible. Don’t wait!

Even if a child has passed a hearing screening before, it is important to look out for the following signs.

Signs in Babies
  • Does not startle at loud noises.
  • Does not turn to the source of a sound after 6 months of age.
  • Does not say single words, such as “dada” or “mama” by 1 year of age.
  • Turns head when he or she sees you but not if you only call out his or her name. This sometimes is mistaken for not paying attention or just ignoring, but could be the result of a partial or complete hearing loss.
  • Seems to hear some sounds but not others.
Signs in Children
  • Speech is delayed.
  • Speech is not clear.
  • Does not follow directions. This sometimes is mistaken for not paying attention or just ignoring, but could be the result of a partial or complete hearing loss.
  • Often says, “Huh?”
  • Turns the TV volume up too high.

Babies and children should reach milestones in how they play, learn, communicate and act. A delay in any of these milestones could be a sign of hearing loss or other developmental problem. Visit our web page to see milestones that children should reach from 2 months to 5 years of age.

Screening and Diagnosis

Hearing screening can tell if a child might have hearing loss. Hearing screening is easy and is not painful. In fact, babies are often asleep while being screened. It takes a very short time — usually only a few minutes.


All babies should have a hearing screening no later than 1 month of age. Most babies have their hearing screened while still in the hospital. If a baby does not pass a hearing screening, it’s very important to get a full hearing test as soon as possible, but no later than 3 months of age.


Children should have their hearing tested before they enter school or any time there is a concern about the child’s hearing. Children who do not pass the hearing screening need to get a full hearing test as soon as possible.

Learn more about screening and diagnosis »

Child signing the word mother to an adult

Treatments and Intervention Services

No single treatment or intervention is the answer for every person or family. Good treatment plans will include close monitoring, follow-ups and any changes needed along the way. There are many different types of communication options for children with hearing loss and for their families. Some of these options include:

  • Learning other ways to communicate, such as sign language
  • Technology to help with communication, such as hearing aids and cochlear implants
  • Medicine and surgery to correct some types of hearing loss
  • Family support services

Learn more about treatments and intervention services »

Causes and Risk Factors

Hearing loss can happen any time during life – from before birth to adulthood.

Following are some of the things that can increase the chance that a child will have hearing loss:

  • A genetic cause: About 1 out of 2 cases of hearing loss in babies is due to genetic causes. Some babies with a genetic cause for their hearing loss might have family members who also have a hearing loss. About 1 out of 3 babies with genetic hearing loss have a “syndrome.” This means they have other conditions in addition to the hearing loss, such as Down syndrome or Usher syndrome. Learn more about the genetics of hearing loss »
  • 1 out of 4 cases of hearing loss in babies is due to maternal infections during pregnancy, complications after birth, and head trauma. For example, the child:
    • Was exposed to infection, such as , before birth
    • Spent 5 days or more in a hospital neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or had complications while in the NICU
    • Needed a special procedure like a blood transfusion to treat bad jaundice
    • Has head, face or ears shaped or formed in a different way than usual
    • Has a condition like a neurological disorder that may be associated with hearing loss
    • Had an infection around the brain and spinal cord called meningitis
    • Received a bad injury to the head that required a hospital stay
  • For about 1 out of 4 babies born with hearing loss, the cause is unknown.


Following are tips for parents to help prevent hearing loss in their children:

Get Help!

  • If you think that your child might have hearing loss, ask the child’s doctor for a hearing screening as soon as possible. Don’t wait!
  • If your child does not pass a hearing screening, ask the child’s doctor for a full hearing test as soon as possible.
  • If your child has hearing loss, talk to the child’s doctor about treatment and intervention services.

Hearing loss can affect a child’s ability to develop speech, language, and social skills. The earlier children with hearing loss start getting services, the more likely they are to reach their full potential. If you are a parent and you suspect your child has hearing loss, trust your instincts and speak with your child’s doctor.

A great article from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia that we wanted to share:

How to Use Art to Promote Your Child’s Self-expression

Contributed by: Lydia Westle, MMT, MT-BC and Hope A. Heffner-Solimeo, MA, ATR-BC, LPC

Original article published by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia can be found here.

A Quick Look:

  • You can use the creative arts to provide healthy outlets for children to explore and express feelings.
  • Encouraging a child to make sounds or music and responding to their creations helps them feel heard and validated.
  • Drawing can help children feel empowered and is a great way to connect as a family.
In any challenging time, whether brought on by stress, worry or sadness, it’s important to realize that children experience difficult emotions, too. To help them cope, children need outlets to express their thoughts and feelings, either verbally or nonverbally.

The creative arts can provide healthy outlets for children to explore their feelings. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s specially trained creative arts therapists have recommended some simple ways that you can incorporate the creative arts into your family’s activities to provide structure, to promote self-expression and to support wellness.


Encourage use of voice for self-expression

Children may have different ways they communicate, and even if your child is not able to speak, you can still pay careful attention to any vocalization that your child may make! If your child is starting to vocalize using any type of sound, imitate this sound back and take turns vocalizing with your child, with the prompts “my turn” and “your turn.” This call-and-response type of musical interaction is a great way to encourage your child to use their voice to interact with you and to feel heard!

Include songs into everyday routines

Don’t be afraid to be creative by making up new songs to familiar tunes. This can provide a sense of structure and assist with transitions throughout the day — for example, when your child is getting dressed, during teeth brushing, between virtual classes or before bedtime. Encourage your child to make up lyrics with you, which will provide opportunities for play and for your child to make choices and have control. You can also include lyrics such as “Today I’m feeling _____ because _____,” which will provide opportunities for your child to identify how they are feeling and why. By singing back your child’s words to the tune of a developmentally appropriate song that is familiar, you are offering validation and encouraging further exploration of feelings.

Use rhythm, tempo and dynamics

Invite your child to participate in music-making at home, using whatever materials are on hand or even using your bodies and voices as instruments! Encouraging your child to play in a variety of styles such as fast, slow, loud and soft can provide opportunities for nonverbal emotional expression. Try taking turns playing music with your child and mirror each other’s playing by repeating back exactly what was played. This is a simple way to help your child feel heard and validated for the music created and emotions expressed! Feel free to invite your child to move or dance to the music as they create it! You can also turn this into a game by pretending you are having a “musical conversation” with each other and taking turns guessing what the other person was trying to communicate musically! This is a great music activity for creative self-expression and socialization.

Music for wellness and stress reduction

For adolescents with access to a smartphone or tablet, creating playlists and listening to music may be a helpful way to connect on an emotional level and reduce stress. Consider suggesting or creating a playlist together with songs that help them feel uplifted or relaxed. Apps such as GarageBand (Apple iOS) or Walk Band (Android) provide many opportunities to create music and can be easily accessed without any musical background.


Use art to help children feel empowered

Current events are times for you to check-in with your child and ensure that potentially stressful news is incorporated into their understanding of themselves and their world and is an opportunity to create positive change. If an issue or event has an impact on your family, you can create artwork together that sends an uplifting message or a call to action. Encourage each family member to think about what they want to tell the world right now. The resulting artwork can be displayed in your home’s windows or taken to a local rally. By empowering children to become advocates and give a visual form to their voices, you can help them connect with a sense of control and foster resilience around situations that otherwise may feel overwhelming.

Draw as a family

Co-creating a picture together can be a unique way to share time and some laughs. Each family member chooses one colored pencil, marker or crayon and starts their own picture, drawing for about two minutes. After two minutes, everyone passes their picture to the left and adds to the new drawing. This continues until everyone has their original artwork back. Each person can then tell, or attempt to tell, the story of their picture. The results can be quite funny! Add an extra element of excitement to it by dropping 30 seconds off each round of drawing until you have only 10 seconds to add something to the image!

Get a used book and alter it

Obtain a book that can be altered, whether the book is from your own family library or found at a secondhand store. Altered bookmaking can be a great way for school-age children and adolescents to create a private, visual journal in which they get to rewrite the story. Some possibilities: use a Sharpie marker to create “block-out” poetry, add envelopes between pages to place keepsakes, or paint over entire pages to create a new narrative or to just check in with feelings throughout the week.

Take your art outside

If it is possible for your family, being outside in a green space is proven to have positive impacts on our physical and emotional health. Collecting various nature elements, such as leaves, acorns, pieces of bark and flowers, and then creating artwork with them, either while outdoors or later on inside, can be relaxing. You can create chalk paint using the following recipe as a way to add color on a sidewalk, driveway or even on the items from nature themselves. Challenge your child to paint a picture on the ground and then find two things from nature to add finishing touches. Try giving each person their own special role in the mixing of the paint beforehand!

Chalk paint

Ingredients and materials

  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 Tbsp washable paints (be sure to select paint that is labeled “washable”)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • Paintbrushes (larger, thick paintbrushes work best)
  • Cups/bowls


  1. In each cup or bowl, add 1/4 cup of cold water
  2. Stir in 1 Tbsp of desired washable paint
  3. Slowly add in 1/4 cup cornstarch while stirring the water and paint mixture. Your finished paint will have a water-like consistency.

Tip: The paint will dry on the sidewalk or driveway quickly and will wash off easily with rain or a hose!

WE NEED VOLUNTEERS: Help Support A Necessary Service to Schools!

Volunteer Training for Hearing Screenings

Join us for a brief orientation and training session!

Contact Jenna Harcher at 912.355.4601 or at for information.

 Wednesday, August 18th from 4:00-5:00

Savannah Speech and Hearing Center • 5414 Skidaway Road Savannah, GA 31406

A training video is available for any who cannot attend our live training.


SSHC Dinner & Auction 2015

Hello Friends of Savannah Speech & Hearing Center!

Each year, we have the good fortune to have a benefit for Savannah Speech and Hearing Center’s Sound Start School (A school for the deaf and hard of hearing) hosted by the  Hammond for Hope Foundation.  This year’s benefit will be held on Sunday, September 27, 2015.  The Hammond for Hope Foundation invites friends and business associates of Savannah Speech & Hearing Center and the Savannah Community to gather for a dinner and auction that evening.  The proceeds of the auction benefit Savannah Speech and Hearing Center’s Sound Start. Sound Start is the only auditory/oral school for the deaf and hard of hearing in the low country.

The following day, Monday, September 30th, friends and business associates participate in a wonderfully competitive golf tournament.

We would ask that the Savannah Community and supporters of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community donate items for the auction.  In return, we can offer a great opportunity to advertise your products and services by posting your donation item and thus advertising your business on our website.  We will feature items of local, regional and nationwide interest for silent bidding with a few select items for a live auction. We will display your literature and business cards with your donation.  We also offer hole sponsorship at the golf tournament.

Last year’s Dinner/Auction and Golf Tournament was a tremendous success in part thanks to the generosity of numerous local Savannah business and benefactors.  As a result of their kindness and those who so excitedly bid for those donations, we have seen the Sound Start School thrive.  Please help us keep the momentum moving in such a positive direction by donating this year.

To ensure we have time to publicize your business on our website, receipt of your donation by September 15th, would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your support of a great service in Savannah!  Please call our auction chairman, Ann Curry, at (912) 355-4601 with any questions.

On behalf of Savannah Speech and Hearing Center, thank you for your support.

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