Signs of Hearing Loss

  • For adults, look for these signs of hearing loss:

    1. shouting in conversation
    2. turning television or radio too loud for other family members
    3. continually asking others to repeat themselves
    4. withdrawing from social contact
    5. straining to hear
    6. misunderstanding conversations
    7. favoring one ear
    8. complaining of a ringing or buzzing in the ear

    For children, look for these signs of hearing loss:

    1. not responding when someone speaks to them
    2. saying "what" or "huh" frequently or asking for things to be repeated
    3. intently watching the face of the person speaking
    4. sitting close to the television with the volume high or turning up the volume on the stereo (this may be normal behavior for teenagers, though!)
    5. switching ears frequently on the telephone
    6. not being startled by loud sounds
    7. responding inconsistently to conversations -- sometimes hears what's been said and sometimes does not.
    8. a history of ear infections -- often getting earaches or runny ears
    9. complains of hurting ears
    10. prefers low pitched or high pitched sounds
    11. talks in a soft or loud voice
    12. confuses sounds that are alike
    13. speech is less developed than expected for age or child does not use verbal language at all
    14. answers questions with unrelated answers
    15. seems inattentive at home or school

    Normal Hearing and Language Development

    In infants and toddlers, look for these signs of normal hearing and language development. If they are lacking, consult your pediatrician immediately.

    1. startles, blinks eyes or other response to sudden, loud sounds (birth to 3 or 4 months)
    2. stops moving or stops crying when called or when hears unfamiliar noise (birth to 3 or 4 months)
    3. disturbed by loud sounds during sleep (3 months)
    4. soothed by mother's voice or shows response (3 months)
    5. imitates gurgling or cooing noises and responds to noise making toys (3 months)
    6. begins to turn eyes and head to the side in search of source of unfamiliar sound (4-5 months)
    7. turns head directly toward the sound of a signal, but cannot locate sounds from above or below (6-7 months)
    8. responds to everyday sounds such as running water, spoon rattling in cup or footsteps from behind (7-9 months)
    9. responds to sound of name (7-9 months)
    10. plug your ears! Baby should engage in loud shrieking and sustained production of vowel sounds (9 months)
    11. uses his or her voice to get attention (9-12 months)
    12. imitates sounds and simple words (12 months)