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Does my child have a hearing loss?

Photo: Signs your child may have a mild or progessive hearing loss, or glue ear

Many children with mild or progressive deafness seem to manage extremely well. Their speech and language development is normal in the early years and as they get older they do well at school.

Glue ear, although usually temporary, affects a child’s ability to hear. Temporary hearing loss can easily be mistaken for stubbornness or being naughty.

Look out for the following signs which may indicate glue ear, mild or progressive deafness.

  • Changes in behaviour for example becoming withdrawn or frustrated.
  • Red ears in babies and/or pulling at their ears.
  • Delayed speech and communication development.
  • Mishearing and mispronouncing words.
  • Not hearing what's going on if there's background noise.
  • Not responding when called.
  • Problems with concentrating, tiredness and frustration that affects their behaviour.
  • Difficulties with reading and learning.
  • Wanting the volume of the TV higher than other members of your family.

What to do if you're concerned about your child's hearing

If you're concerned about your child's hearing talk to your doctor or health visitor about your child seeing an audiologist. The audiologist should carry out a hearing test to confirm whether your child has a hearing problem, and what the options are for managing it.

If you have just been told that your baby, toddler or child has a hearing loss, the news may be a shock. The majority of deaf children are born to hearing parents who have no previous experience of deafness. We are here to help. One of the ways we can help is with our information about first diagnosis.