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Screening for Hearing Problems

Table of Contents


In adults

Gradual hearing loss can affect people of all ages. You may not be aware of it, but your friends and family may notice. If you have concerns about your hearing, talk to your doctor during routine visits. If you have sudden hearing loss, call your doctor right away.

In children

Experts recommend that all newborns be screened for hearing loss. 1, 2 Many states require newborn hearing tests for all babies born in hospitals. Talk to your doctor about whether your child has been or should be tested. Even if the newborn test did not show hearing loss, hearing problems could arise.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends objective hearing testing for all newborns. Objective hearing tests are also recommended for all children at ages 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10.3

Hearing tests may be a part of well-child appointments.

Some hearing problems can delay your child's speech and language development. Early screening for hearing loss can help prevent many learning, social, and emotional problems that can be related to speech and language development.1

In most hearing tests, your child responds to how well they hear a series of tones or words (subjective testing). Hearing is also tested by examining your child's ears or by using an instrument to measure how the ears react to sound (objective testing). In objective testing, your child is not asked to respond to sounds.

Call your doctor if at any time you suspect your child has a hearing problem, such as if your baby does not seem to respond to loud noises or your young child is not making sounds or talking at the expected ages.

Watching for signs of hearing problems in children

During well-child visits, your doctor checks your baby's growth and development to see if your baby is reaching the milestones for each age. Between visits, you can also watch for these signs of normal hearing development. If you are concerned that your child is not reaching these milestones, talk with your doctor about testing your child for hearing problems.

Newborn to age 3 months

Does your baby:

Ages 4 to 6 months

Does your baby:

Ages 7 months to 1 year

Does your baby:

Ages 1 to 2 years

Pay attention to the quality of your child's speech. Children must be able to hear well for normal speech and language to develop.

And keep watching your child's behavior. Does your child:

Ages 2 to 4 years

Keep paying attention to the quality of your child's speech and their behavior.

Does your child:

Ages 4 and older

By the age of 4, your child may tell you they are having trouble hearing or understanding others. You can ask your child questions about their hearing.

Also, does your child:

Your child's teacher may notice behavior that would mean your child is not hearing well, such as talking in a loud voice or not following instructions.



  1. Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (2019). Year 2019 Position Statement: Principles and guidelines for early hearing detection and intervention programs. Journal of Early Hearing Detection and Intervention, 4(2), 1–44. DOI: 10.15142/fptk-b748. Accessed January24, 2023.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2022). Screening and diagnosis of hearing loss. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.,than%203%20months%20of%20age. Accessed January 24, 2023.
  3. Bright Futures/American Academy of Pediatrics (2022). Recommendations for preventive pediatric healthcare. American Academy of Pediatrics, Accessed October 10, 2022.

Credits for Screening for Hearing Problems

Current as of: September 27, 2023

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