Groupe Forget - Polyclinique de l'Oreille
Symptoms of hearing loss in infants and children


What are the signs and symptoms of hearing loss in infants and children?

  • Ask people to repeat themselves
  • Exhibit delayed language development
  • Confuse sounds or pronounces them incorrectly
  • Show a decline in language development
  • Often have ear infections
  • Ask to turn up the volume of the radio or television
  • React abnormally to low, medium or loud sounds
  • Daydream, seem inattentive
  • Don’t answer to their name
  • Don’t turn or react when spoken to (when the child doesn’t see you, while in a different room or not facing you, for example)
  • Can’t find the person calling them from far away in the house
  • Have a family member with hearing loss
  • The parents think the child has hearing problems.

Although every child is unique, here are the general stages of communication development in babies and children.

From birth to 3 months, the baby should:

  • Startle in reaction to a loud noise
  • Relax, calm down when hearing familiar voices
  • Pay attention to familiar voices
  • Cry differently to express different needs
  • Make sounds to express pleasure (cooing)
  • Play at making sounds like “aah” and “ooo”

From 3 to 6 months:

  • Move or wake up to the sound of voices when sleeping
  • Turn the head when their name is said or there’s a noise, even if they don’t see you
  • Play at making sounds that progressively begin to resemble words/speech

From 6 to 8 months:

  • React and turn head when name is said
  • Understand common words like “no” and “bye-bye”
  • Babble, say “mamama,” “bababa”

From 8 to 15 months:

  • Repeat simple words and sounds
  • Try to grab or point to familiar objects when the objects are named
  • Understand simple instructions
  • Imitate familiar animal sounds
  • Correctly say “dada” or “mama”
  • Turn to face a sound

From 12 to 18 months:

  • Follow simple verbal instructions
  • Regularly use seven real words or more
  • At 18 months, 25% of the child’s speech should be intelligible

Starting at 24 months:

  • Point to parts of the body when named, without seeing your lips move
  • Start to combine two words, like “more, mama!”
  • Have a vocabulary of 50 to 250 words
  • At 2 years old, 50 to 75% of the child’s speech should be intelligible

Starting at 3 years old:

  • Name just about anything with one word
  • Have conversations with self or with toys
  • Have a vocabulary of 450 words
  • Construct sentences of 4 or 5 words
  • Follow conversations
  • At 3 years old, 75 to 100% of the child’s speech should be intelligible

If you suspect there are problems with your child’s development, it is recommended to have his or her hearing tested.

» Find a clinic that specializes in children between 0 and 4