Being the parent of a toddler is challenging at times. Not only do you have to deal with their seemingly endless supply of energy, but when they're dealing with a health issue, they aren't always able to communicate the concern with you. This is especially the case when it comes to hearing problems. With a number of children dealing with this issue, being able to recognize early warning signs is important.
Children develop their vocabulary from listening to other people. This is one of the main reasons parents are encouraged to talk and read with their children on a regular basis, as this will help them learn more words. When a child can't fully hear what you're saying, they will in turn not be able to learn more words. If your child is struggling in this area, it might be a good idea to investigate further.
A child that can hear, but may not be hearing fully out of both ears or has another type of impairment, might be learning new words. However, they are not delivering those words in the same manner that they are hearing them. Given the impairment, their speech might not be clear and they may not say their words with the proper sound. This is another warning sign that parents should not ignore.
Seems Easily Distracted
When a child doesn't seem to stay focused on a particular subject for a long period of time, many people assume their child may be dealing with a behavioral concern or ADD. However, this can also be reflective of a hearing issue. It might not be that the child is not paying attention, it could simply be that they are not able to hear you. Again, if your child is routinely distracted, you should investigate further.
Limited Social Involvement
Children with hearing impairments may also have limited social involvement with their peers. Similar to being easily distracted, the child may not enjoy interacting with their peers if they are unable to communicate with them or can't follow along with them due to their limited ability to hear. If your child routinely stays to themselves, you may want to look into this.
If your child is displaying these signs, it's a good idea to seek professional assistance. An audiologist, like Mark Montgomery MD FACS, can exam your child and help you gain the confidence that your child can clearly hear you.