My husband has had a hearing loss since he was a child. How will I know if
our baby also has a hearing problem? – Joyce
A family history of hearing loss does put a newborn at higher risk for having a
hearing loss. But rest assured, your baby's hearing
can be monitored closely so that if there is a problem, treatment can begin as soon
In most states, hospitals do a newborn
hearing screening before the baby goes home. If it's not done then, or the baby
was born at home or a birthing center, it's important to get a newborn hearing screening
within the first 3 weeks of life.
A baby who doesn't pass a hearing screening doesn't necessarily have a hearing
loss. A retest to confirm the hearing loss should be done within the first 3 months
of life. If it confirms a problem, doctors should start treatment by the time the
child is 6 months old.
Even if your newborn passes the initial hearing screening, watch for signs that
he or she is hearing well. Hearing milestones that should be reached in the first
year of life include:
Most newborns startle or "jump" to sudden loud noises.
By 3 months, a baby usually recognizes a parent's voice.
By 6 months, babies can usually turn their eyes or head toward a sound.
By 12 months, babies can usually imitate some sounds and produce a few words,
such as "Mama" or "bye-bye."
A child may be at higher risk for hearing loss if he or she: