Your Child's Hearing Development Checklist

Last Editorial Review: 4/29/2011

Infants and young children with hearing problems can have difficulty developing speech and language.

Some babies are born with hearing problems. Other children are born with normal hearing and begin to have hearing problems as they grow older.

You can help your child's doctor to decide if your child's hearing needs to be tested. Hearing problems can be temporary or permanent. Hearing problems can happen because of ear infections, injuries, or diseases.

If your child doesn't hear well or speak clearly, take action.

Read the hearing checklist. Find your child's age. Check yes or no for every item. After you complete the checklist, show it to your child's doctor. Ask the doctor questions. Talk about the items checked no. If you think your child has trouble hearing, tell the doctor right away.

Your Baby's Hearing Checklist

Birth to 3 Months
Reacts to loud sounds.


Is soothed by your voice. YES NO
Turns head to you when you speak. YES NO
Is awakened by loud voices and sounds. YES NO
Smiles when spoken to. YES NO
Seems to know your voice and quiets down if crying. YES NO
3 to 6 Months
Looks upward or turns toward a new sound YES NO
Responds to "no" and changes in tone of voice. YES NO
Imitates his/her own voice. YES NO
Enjoys rattles and other toys that make sounds. YES NO
Begins to repeat sounds (such as ohh, ahh, and ba-ba) YES NO
Becomes scared by a loud voice. YES NO
6 to 10 Months
Responds to his/her own name, telephone ringing, someone's voice, even when not loud. YES NO
Knows words for common things (cup, shoe) and sayings ("bye-bye") YES NO
Makes babbling sounds, even when alone. YES NO
Starts to respond to requests such as "come here." YES NO
Looks at things or pictures when someone talks about them. YES NO
10 to 15 Months
Plays with own voice, enjoying the sound and feel of it. YES NO
Points to or looks at familiar objects or people when asked to do so. YES NO
Imitates simple words and sounds; may use a few single words meaningfully. YES NO
Enjoys games like peak-a-boo and pat-a-cake. YES NO
15 to 18 Months
Follows simple directions, such as "give me the ball." YES NO
Uses words he/she has learned often. YES NO
Uses 2-3 word sentences to talk about and ask for things. YES NO
Knows 10 to 20 words. YES NO
18 to 24 Months
Understands simple "yes-no" questions (Are you hungry?). YES NO
Understands simple phrases ("in the cup," on the table"). YES NO
Enjoys being read to. YES NO
Points to pictures when asked. YES NO
24 to 36 Months
Understands "not now" and "no more." YES NO
Chooses things by size (big, little). YES NO
Follows simple directions such as "get your shoes" and "drink your milk." YES NO
Understands may action words (run, jump). YES NO
When to talk to your doctor
Talk to your doctor if you think your child has a hearing problem. YES NO
Do others in the family, including brothers or sisters have a hearing problem? YES NO
The child's mother had medical problems in pregnancy or delivery
(serious illness or injury, drugs or medications).
The baby was born early (premature). Weight at birth was: _________________________ YES NO
The baby had physical problems at birth. YES NO
The child rubs or pulls on the ear(s) often. YES NO
The child had meningitis. YES NO
The child had _______ ear infections in the past year. YES NO
The child has colds, allergies, and ear infections, once a month ________more often________. YES NO

Some words the doctor may use:

  • audiogram: a chart that shows how well a person can hear.
  • audiologist: a person who tests and measures hearing.
  • earache: pain in the ears caused by infections or growths.
  • otitis media: infection of the middle ear.
  • otolaryngologist: a doctor who treats diseases and problems of the ear, nose, and throat.
  • otologist: a doctor who treats diseases of the ear.
  • pediatrician: a doctor who takes care of infants and children and who treats their diseases.
  • speech/language pathologist: a person who helps people improve speech, language, and voice.


Ear Infection Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment See Slideshow

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SOURCE: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Your Child's Hearing Development Checklist