Milestones of Hearing Development
Hearing plays a key role in your child’s social, emotional and cognitive development. Children learn to communicate by imitating sounds they hear. Therefore, even a mild hearing loss can affect your child’s ability to speak and understand language. Early detection is key. At Hearing Evaluation Services (HES), we use our expertise and state-of-the-art technology to diagnose and treat hearing loss so that your child can live life to their fullest potential. HES believes that all parents and caretakers should have access to useful information to help them determine whether or not their child’s hearing is developing properly.
The following developmental guidelines can help you determine if your child is hearing normally. All children develop at a slightly different rate, but if you suspect your child is not hearing normally, it is critical that you have his or her hearing tested immediately. Early intervention is the most important step to avoiding developmental, speech, and language delays.
Birth to Three Months
A newborn should respond to sound by waking, startling or crying. Infants may also appear to pay attention to voices and may be soothed by the sound of a familiar voice.
At three months, babies have control of their eye movements. They will respond to sound by making eye movements to see where the sound is coming from. You will notice your child’s increased awareness of voices, and he or she may smile when spoken to. Your child may enjoy toys that make interesting sounds, such as rattles.
Children at six months of age are able to turn their head in an attempt to locate sounds. They should begin to respond to the sound of their name, as well as the word, “no,” or other changes in the tone of your voice. By this age, children are babbling and producing a variety of speech-like sounds.
A one-year-old can recognize common words and understand simple requests (e.g., “Look at Daddy!”). They can imitate and repeat speech sounds and may begin trying to say their first words.
By one and a half years of age, children should have around 50 words in their vocabulary. They should respond to simple commands (e.g. “Give me the ball.”) and should point and vocalize to communicate about things going on around them.
A two-year-old should have a large vocabulary of 200 words or more. When speaking, they should be using two or more words at a time (e.g., “Go bye-bye” or “Play ball, Daddy”). Your child should be able to point to pictures in a book, and identify or point to body parts.
Children begin to use language in more complex ways by the time they are three years old. They should be able to participate in short conversations, and will begin to add endings, such as –ing or –ed, to words.
If you suspect your child may be suffering with a hearing loss, early testing and diagnosis can ensure your child is treated, and able to excel developmentally, academically, and socially.