I am concerned about my child's hearing

A child's ability to hear can change at any time. Some babies who pass the newborn hearing screening may develop a hearing loss in the months or years after that. While most children receive a hearing test at birth, many do not have a hearing test again until they are in school.

If you are concerned about your child's hearing and language, tell your doctor and ask where your child can get a hearing test. Your doctor can usually check to see if a child has an ear infection that can cause a temporary hearing loss. However, most doctors do not have the equipment to test for permanent hearing loss. Your doctor probably needs to send you to a hearing specialist (audiologist) who has the proper equipment and training to test a child's hearing.

  • Discuss your concerns with your child's doctor or nurse. Ask whether your doctor has a way to check for permanent hearing loss.
  • Temporary hearing loss may be caused by an ear infection. This type of loss can often be diagnosed and treated by your doctor. If the ear infection lasts longer than three months, your doctor should send you to a specialist. If your doctor does not identify an ear health condition that may explain your concerns, ask for a referral to get a complete hearing test from an audiologist.
  • Permanent hearing loss is diagnosed and treated by a pediatric audiologist—a hearing specialist who knows how to work with children. If your doctor sends you to an audiologist, be sure to find out if the audiologist has the right equipment to test infants and young children.
  • Contact your state's Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program to ask about your child's test. Find your state's program contact information here or call 866-997-HEAR (4327)