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Infant hearing screenings

Benchmarks can help determine when to get child hearing test

More than 4,000 babies are born each year with hearing loss, according to the American Academy of Audiology. That's about 6 in every 1,000 babies.

Because babies aren't able to tell you they have hearing loss and the first year of life is critical to the development of speech and language, infant hearing screenings are important. Most states require newborn hearing screenings.

An infant with normal hearing should be able to do the following:

  • Around two months of age, startles to sound, quiets to familiar voices and makes vowel sounds such as "ohh."
  • Around four months of age, looks for sound sources, starts babbling, and makes squeals and chuckles.
  • Around six months of age, turns his or her head toward loud sounds, begins to imitate speech sounds and babbles such as "ba-ba."
  • Around 1 year of age, correctly uses "mama" or "dada," gives a toy when asked and responds to singing or music.

If your infant isn't able to do some of these examples, schedule an appointment with an audiologist for a hearing screening.