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  Hearing: Chance of problems
I am concerned about my baby’s hearing. She is 4 months old, and I notice that when there is a loud noise she doesn’t seem to notice. How do you tell if a baby’s hearing is normal?

In every 1000 babies born, 3 are likely to have hearing loss, so it is really not uncommon. If your baby was born in a hospital, she was likely to have had her hearing tested at the time. Otherwise, the test can be done by your doctor. This is an easy way to put your mind at rest.

Should your baby have hearing problems, it is not necessarily permanent. Almost every child alive will go through periods of hearing loss, often due to illness. Since many causes of hearing loss are treatable, it is important that you follow up your hunch that your baby does not hear well. The hearing problems could be due to fluid or other debris which has built up inside the ear structure. An audiologist will be able to tell you if this is the case with your child, and suggest follow up treatment and also a series of tests to establish if the hearing improves with treatment.

In a very small number of cases, the hearing loss is caused by a physical problem. If the cause is a damaged cochlear, your child may be offered a hearing aid, coupled with therapy to help the child cope with day to day life. There is also a surgical procedure that allows the sound signal to bypass the malfunctioning cochlear so that it can still reach the relevant nerves.

See also:

Hearing - Normal signs

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