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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.


Educational Seminar March 3rd, 2021!

A Big Thank You to Georgia Southern’s NSSHLA

A big thank you to Georgia Southern’s NSSHLA (National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association)  for raising the funds to purchase a  Maico portable audiometer for our hearing screening program. SSHC provides free hearing screenings to private and public preschools, elementary, middle and high schools in Chatham, Effingham and Bryan Counties. In 2019, along with 25 volunteers from GSU-Armstrong Campus we screened over 7,685 students.

Pictured are (LtoR) Sarah Roberson, Ann Curry, Volunteer Coordinator and Macall Brown, President of NSSLHA

Savannah Speech and Hearing Center Celebrates 65 Years

Savannah Speech & Hearing Center celebrated our 65th anniversary with staff, board members and community supporters at a reception held at Cohen’s Retreat.

Responding to a need in the community to provide services to those with speech and hearing issues as well as physical challenges, SSHC was chartered in 1954 as the Rehabilitation Center of Savannah. The Center initially operated as a general rehabilitation facility offering services in speech, hearing, occupational and physical therapy. Soon after, the name was changed to the Clair Henderson Memorial Rehabilitation Center in honor of Dr. Claire Henderson, a county health official and one of the original proponents of the center. In 1964, the physical and occupational therapy programs were moved to Memorial Hospital and the Center became a speech and hearing service organization and the name was changed to Savannah Speech and Hearing Center, Inc.

The Junior League of Savannah and the United Community Chest, which would later be known as the United Way of the Coastal Empire, were instrumental in the early success of the Center. In 1984, a Capital Campaign was launched to renovate and expand the existing building.

In 2007,  the center opened Sound Start – an auditory/oral program for deaf and hard of hearing children ages 2 – 6 years of age. The goal of Sound Start is to teach children who are deaf to listen, speak and understand spoken language in order to be a success in a regular education setting.

The center recently broke ground on a new state of the art center, which will allow the expansion of services in the community.

More information on the progress of that can be found here.


Back to School & Screen Time

With back to school time underway, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has some pointers for parents to find a good balance for children and their screen time use. While finding the ideal balance can take trial and error, these resolutions can help families set guidelines for the new school year:

  • Make and stick to a plan. If you haven’t already developed a family technology plan, the start of school makes an excellent time to do so. Numerous trusted groups, including theAmerican Academy of Pediatrics and Common Sense Media, offer templates to make this easy. Even if you already use a plan, find time to revisit it and consider—with your kids—whether the rules need to evolve. What is, and isn’t, working? Are kids old enough for additional/different privileges? Screen time plans need to change to stay effective.
  • Focus on quality. While quantity—such as daily/weekly time limits—still work for many families, not all screen time is created equal. As most experts now stress, 30 minutes spent creating something—art, stories, programming—isn’t the same as 30 minutes passively viewing YouTube videos. Emphasize the former—and consider allowing more leeway if the time gets well spent.
  • Make dinner time sacred. An oldie but goodie, dinner time should be offline time. Make conversation king at the table. In addition to building kids’ communication—speech, language, and social—skills and providing an unmatched, consistent opportunity for family bonding and connection, a host of other benefits are linked to regular family dinners. Technology is almost always a distraction—so no answering texts, emails, or Googling. Everyone can hold off for those 30 minutes.
  • Keep bedtime use off limits. Another classic, but oft-ignored recommendation. Recent research from Common Sense Media found 68% of teens—and 74% of parents—now take their mobile devices to bed with them. Not only can this detract from beneficial bedtime activities such as daily reading, but it can interfere with adequate sleep—which is necessary for physical and mental health, as well as academic success.
  • Limit during homework time. This undoubtedly becomes more difficult as kids get older and assignments require online research. To that end, minimize technology as much as possible and only to assist in homework. During homework time, discourage multitasking with social media or texting.
  • Get involved. Make tech use a group activity. Watch your kids play Fortnite or view videos from their favorite YouTuber with them. Ask questions. Show—better yet, have—interest. This not only keeps the lines of communication open and provides a chance to talk/bond, but it can moderate parents’ concerns about their child’s online time—i.e., it may not be as bad as you think. Conversely, it can be an early indicator of problematic content.
  • Elevate the conversation—Think beyond limits, rules, and restrictions. Again, these have their place, but encourage kids to think critically, for themselves, about how they use technology (risks/rewards) and help them appreciate and value offline time—both activities and relationships—prioritizing people over devices. Parents can’t monitor everything, especially as children get older. Talk about your expectations for being a good digital citizen and your family’s values, so they carry these along when they are at friends’ houses, on the school bus, and out in the world. Give them the tools to make good decisions.

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

Volunteer Training for Hearing Screenings

Join us for a brief orientation and training session

Tuesday, August 27, 2019 from 4:00-5:00

Savannah Speech and Hearing Center • 1206 E 66th Street Savannah, GA 31404


Congrats to our 2019 Sound Start Graduates!

Toddlers, Babies, and Books, Oh My!

How to Introduce Toddlers and Babies to Books

Do you ever question when the best time is to introduce your little one to books? The answer is anytime is the best time! Interacting and making reading fun for your little one is important for their future engagements with books and reading to nurture literacy skills early on. notes that reading a few minutes at a time is okay, so do not worry if you do not finish the entire book. This is because, as you may know, young children cannot sit for more than a few minutes. What counts is that you are introducing books to your little one and reading to them a little at a time.

According to, there are multiple ways to make your little one comfortable with reading. Talking or singing the pictures instead of reading the words offers a different take on reading time because they will become more engaged. Another way to help your little one become comfortable with reading is by letting them turn the pages. Babies and toddlers often enjoy being independent, so by allowing them to turn the page of the book, they feel involved. Not only is it important to let your child be independent during reading time, but it is also important to engage them and explain what you are doing. By showing children the cover page of each book, this describes what the story is about or they can guess what the story is about. Showing children the words by running your finger left to right across the words engages them more, and creating voices of characters and using body movements makes the story come alive.

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