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Signs and symptoms of a hearing impairment

Parents and carers should be aware of the following signs and symptoms which may indicate their child has a possible hearing loss:


  • Slow to react and observes others before copying behaviour

  • Is usually last to follow instructions and appears 'lost'

  • Frequently checks in with others as to what they should be doing

  • Struggles to hear when there is background noise e.g. if music is playing or they are in a busy dining hall.

  • Difficulty with regulating their voice either shouts or whispers.

  • Struggles to mix socially and make friends

  • Has tantrums and appears frustrated at times

  • Is unable to pronounce some sounds such as 's', 'sh' and 't'

  • Needs support of follow discussions

  • Gets tired more easily when completing tasks or activities due to increased effort needed to understand

  • Frequently asks 'what' or 'pardon'

  • Is often tense or stressed

  • Observes others faces very intently when listening to speech

  • Turns their head to one side when listening

  • Prefers written work to oral work

  • Has a poor vocabulary and language development is below that of their peers.

  • Appears to lip read

The type of hearing loss a child can experience is either sensori-neural or conductive.

Sensori-neural hearing loss is now identified much earlier on as neonatal hearing screening is more widespread. Any possible hearing loss is detected within a few days after birth and strategies can then start to be put in to place to reduce the developmental delay to speech and language.

However, with conductive hearing loss, which can vary from day to day, children's hearing difficulties can go unnoticed with teachers and parents explaining that the child appears to 'listen when they want to' and may regard them as having some behavioural problems. Even if impairments are less significant this can still have an impact on a child's progress and identification is necessary for support to be put in place.

For more information on see definition of a hearing impairment.

Image courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net




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