Hearing loss in children may be recognized by teachers as early as pre-school age. Symptoms may include lack of participation in classroom activities or solitary behavior. Parents may recognize the symptoms of hearing loss in children in infancy by signs such as unresponsiveness to noise and activities around them. Failure to respond to a parent's voice and inability to form words at the usual stage of development are other symptoms.
Recognizing hearing impairment or hearing loss in children may be more difficult than in adults. A very young child may be unable to tell parents or teachers that he is experiencing difficulty in hearing. A child may not recognize his hearing loss as being anything other than normal, especially if it has been a gradual occurrence. There are signs, however, that can alert a parent or school teacher to hearing difficulty in a child.
A child with a hearing problem that gradually worsens over time may suddenly begin failing at school, or his grades may begin to drop. He may not seem attentive in class. If seated in the back of the room, he may not respond to the teacher. Children with hearing loss are often more quiet and will not typically volunteer answers in the classroom.
Parents with a young child may be alerted to potential hearing loss by looking for obvious clues. If the child does not respond when being called from a distance, or does not look in the direction of the sound, this could indicate a possible hearing problem. If he moves closer to understand someone who is speaking to him, this could be another symptom.
With hearing loss in children younger than one year of age, the child may not bolt, give a turn, or seem attentive to a loud noise within earshot. Other symptoms of hearing loss in children under 12 months old may be tugging on an ear. Lack of interest in activities around him is another sign.
Toddlers generally speak their first words when they are 10-14 months old. A toddler with hearing loss will typically be delayed in speech development and his words may be muffled. Some deaf children or children with significant hearing impairment may not form words, but mutter sounds and noises.
The signs of hearing loss in children who are of school age are often more easily recognizable. If a child appears to be constantly reading lips as the other person speaks, this could indicate a hearing problem. If parents and teachers are constantly asked to repeat themselves, this could be another sign. Often, children with hearing difficulties will show no problems learning lessons written on the blackboard or in a textbook. Their difficulty will typically become apparent with oral tests, however.