Early identification of hearing loss in newborns is very important. Untreated hearing loss can slow a child's development in significant ways. In adults, hearing loss also can have a dramatic impact on function and wellbeing.

Behaviors that may be telling you about hearing disorders:

  • Infant doesn't babble
  • Infant doesn't respond to familiar voices
  • Child doesn't talk at same age as other children, or doesn't talk as much
  • Person doesn't follow sounds or voices with eyes
  • Ignores loud, unexpected noises; doesn't blink or startle
  • Sleeps through loud noises, voices
  • Turns up TV or radio sound so that they are too loud for others, or no longer listens to music, radio
  • Pays no attention when others speak; ignores spoken requests
  • Talks too loudly
  • Turns head to position one ear closer to sound
  • Often asks people to repeat themselves
  • Becomes confused during conversations, especially if there is loud background noise or several people speaking
  • Difficulty hearing the phone, unwillingness to talk on phone
  • Withdraws from social contact
  • Often seems disinterested, slow to respond, "out of it"

Other factors that may indicate the presence of a hearing disorder include:

  • Friends, family members are concerned about the person's hearing
  • Family history of hearing or speaking problems
  • Ears ring or buzz
  • Voice sounds odd
  • Infection of or damage to ear drum, mastoiditis
  • Overuses certain medicines, such as aspirin or gentamicin
  • Presence of:
    • Down syndrome
    • High blood pressure
    • Hypothyroidism
    • Kidney dysfunction
    • Leukemia
    • Meniere's disease
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Osteosclerosis
    • Paget's disease
    • Skull malformation

Do you think someone's behavior may be telling you about a hearing disorder? Talk with your doctor or other health care provider. They can work with you to learn whether this is the case.