Ear Care

Can Your Child Hear?

Hearing loss in children

Hearing loss in children

Hearing is important for the development of human functions such as talking, understanding and being understood. Hearing is also important as it enables us to listen to the world around us. Parents/caregivers/whanau are most likely to be the first to notice signs of hearing loss in children or identify a hearing problem.

We have included a check list below which is a good way to check if you child is hearing clearly for their age and stage.

Find the closest age for your child and run through the checks, if you answer “no” more often than “yes”, your child may have a hearing problem.

The sooner a hearing problem is discovered, the sooner something can be done to help your child hear. When children can hear clearly, everything is easier for them.

If you are concerned about your child, our TOLBECS Ear Nurse Therapists can help, call us on 0800 TOLBECS to book an appointment.

TOLBECS nurse viewing child's ear


Hearing loss in children – Checklist

6 weeks old

When there is a sudden loud noise, does your baby:

  • jump or blink
  • stir in his or her sleep
  • stop sucking for a moment
  • look up from sucking
  • cry

When you talk, does your baby:

  • seem to be aware of your voice
  • stop sucking or crying

3 months old

Does your baby:

  • blink or cry when there is a sudden noise
  • stop crying or sucking when you talk
  • wake or stir to loud sounds
  • coo or smile when you talk
  • seem to like a musical toy
  • stop moving when there is a new sound
  • seem to know your voice

6 months old

Does your baby:

  • turn towards a sound or someone speaking
  • smile when you talk
  • cry when there is a sudden noise
  • stop moving when there is a new sound
  • like music
  • make lots of different babbling sounds

9 months old

Does your baby:

  • respond to his or her own name
  • look around to find new sounds, even quiet sounds
  • understand “no” and “ta-ta”
  • listen when people talk
  • like copying sounds
  • use babbling that sounds like real speech
  • try to talk back when you talk

1 year old

Does your baby:

  • point to things and people he or she knows when asked to
  • copy or repeat simple words or sounds
  • try to talk
  • understand things like “come here”
  • use his or her own voice to get attention
  • say 2 or 3 words
  • listen when people talk

18 months old

  • do one thing when asked, like “get your shoes”
  • say sentences with 2 words in the like “me drink”
  • know a few parts of the body
  • ask for things by pointing and trying to say the word
  • understand things like “give me that” and “don’t touch”

2 years old

  • do 2 things when asked, like “get the ball and bring it here”
  • repeat what you say
  • know lots of words
  • enjoy “story time”
  • point to a picture when asked, like “show me the baby”
  • user the names of people and things they know
  • have a name for him/herself
  • show enjoyment with music
  • say simple sentences like “milk all gone”

3 years old

  • know a few nursery rhymes or songs
  • understand most words
  • find you when you call from another room
  • sometimes use whole sentences
  • use words like “go, me, in, big”
  • tell a story
  • say how he/she feels
  • remember and tell things that have happened
  • count to 3
  • speak clearly so that everyone can understand
  • ask lots of “why” and “what” questions

4 years old

  • tell a long, clear story about what he/she has done
  • speak well with only a few sounds wrong like “r, s, th, l”
  • know what things are for like hat, apple, plate
  • like books and being read to
  • understand most of what you say

This information is based on a 1995 Public Health Commission Pamphlet.