Signs Your Toddler May Be Having Hearing Difficulties

By Shannon Gurnee
In Babies
September 20, 2023

Today, on Redhead Mom, I’m sharing a partnered guest post about signs that show your toddler may be having hearing difficulties.

toddler hearing difficulties

As a parent, you want to ensure your toddler is reaching all their developmental milestones. One important milestone is hearing and speech development. While it’s normal for toddlers to have occasional hearing or speech difficulties, consistent issues could signal a potential problem. Hearing loss in toddlers can affect their ability to develop speech and language skills. The earlier it’s caught, the better the outcome. Here are some signs a toddler may be having hearing difficulties.

Failing to Respond to Voices or Sounds

One of the most obvious signs of hearing loss is if a toddler doesn’t respond at all to voices or sounds around them. All toddlers can be absorbed in play and tune things out temporarily, but a consistent lack of response to sound is a red flag. Make an appointment with Hearing Health Solutions for a hearing test if this is seen.

Delayed Speech

Toddlers should be starting to say their first words around 12 months and put 2-3 words together by age two. If a toddler isn’t attempting to mimic words and communicate verbally by these milestones, hearing problems may be the culprit. Chronic ear infections are a common cause of speech delays in this age group.  

An Inability to Follow Simple Directions

As toddlers acquire language, they should be able to follow basic one-step directions by age two, like “Go get your shoes” or “Sit down, please”. If a child doesn’t respond appropriately to simple instructions, trouble hearing and distinguishing words could be the reason.

Watching Faces Intently

Toddlers with hearing difficulty will pay very close attention to faces and expressions as visual cues. A parent may notice their toddler watching mouths and expressions more intensely as they try to supplement auditory information. This is a sign they have hearing issues.

Selective Hearing

Does your toddler seem to hear some voices or sounds perfectly fine and ignore others? The ability to discriminate between sounds is an early listening skill. Trouble with this discrimination can be another sign of hearing challenges.

Excessive Volume on Electronic Devices

If a toddler insists TV, videos, and music be extremely loud, they may be compensating for hearing difficulties. While all toddlers enjoy volume, extremes may indicate hearing is not in the normal range. This should be discussed with the pediatrician and possibly an audiologist.

Chronic Ear Tugging or Rubbing

Frequent tugging or rubbing of the ears may signal chronic ear pain or pressure due to fluid build-up from ear infections. Multiple infections can cause hearing fluctuations in toddlers. Ask the pediatrician to check the child’s ears. 

Pronunciation Issues

It’s normal for toddlers to mispronounce words as they learn to talk. However, consistent difficulty pronouncing words and being understood beyond 24 months may indicate a hearing problem. Have the toddler’s hearing checked to learn if there is an underlying medical condition.

Delayed Responses

You ask your toddler a question and it takes them longer than it should to look up and respond. Do you make a loud noise and see a delay before they react? These delays in response time can be clues to hearing challenges.

If you think your toddler may have hearing difficulties, raise these concerns with their pediatrician. Early intervention is key to getting needed support services and treatments. With the right help, hearing-impaired toddlers can develop language and communication skills on track. Trust your parental instincts and advocate for the child’s hearing to be evaluated if you suspect any type of problem. A parent knows their child best and must speak up on their behalf.

About Has 2244 Posts

Shannon Gurnee is the author of Redhead Mom formerly "The Mommy-Files", a national blog with a loyal following. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development with a Minor in Business Management. Shannon and her husband, Frank, have a large family with 6 awesome kids and love living on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, California, as well as traveling around the world. A full-time Social Media and Professional Blogger, Shannon also serves as a National Brand Ambassador for many well-known companies. Her blog focuses on motherhood, family fun activities, traveling, fashion, beauty, technology, wedding ideas and recipes while providing professional opinions on products, performances, restaurants, and a variety of businesses.

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