You asked

What should I do if I suspect my toddler has a hearing problem?

The first thing to do if you think that your toddler has a hearing problem is to make an appointment for an ear examination and a hearing test with an ear, nose, and throat specialist, or an audiologist (hearing expert). What these test do is tell us whether the mechanisms for hearing are working properly, and not whether the child’s brain is processing the speech sounds.

 You know your child better than anyone does, so you will be the first to notice if your child is hard of hearing. If your child is in crèche, and your child does have a hearing problem, they will more than likely pick it up there as well.

Do this as soon as possible as the longer it goes undiagnosed, and untreated, the higher the chance is that your toddler will have his speech and language development delayed.

You needn’t worry that your child may be too young to be tested, as children of any age can be tested. There is a wide variety of tests that are available, several of which are especially for young children. The tests done on young children do not require them to respond behaviourally – they measure a child’s hearing system by electronic means, almost the same way that an EKG measures the heart’s functions. This means that even young babies can be tested as well.

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