The first months and years of a baby’s life are critical for developing language. Every year in Ontario, nearly four in 1,000 babies are born deaf or hard of hearing. More lose their hearing later as they grow. Many of these children may need to learn speech and language differently, so it’s important to detect hearing loss as early as possible.
Undetected hearing loss can cause delays in your baby’s learning to talk which can lead to behavioural, cognitive and emotional problems. Children who are deaf or hard of hearing have a better chance of developing effective language skills when hearing loss is identified early and they receive the support they need.
Children identified as deaf or hard of hearing may also receive audiology services. These services include:
- Hearing tests – hearing tests are done if your child receives a refer result on the newborn hearing screening. An Infant Hearing Program audiologist will assess your child’s hearing.
- Hearing technology fitting and management – an Infant Hearing Program audiologist will select and fit the hearing technology that will best meet your child’s needs.
The Family Support Worker is available to assist your family. This trained professional supports families of hearing loss in many ways, including:
- Providing counselling support
- Helping you connect with services available for you, your child and family
- Connecting you with other parents of children with hearing loss
- Helping your family with transitions to childcare and school
Communication Development Services
The Infant Hearing Program may also provide family-centered services that include:
- An assessment of your child’s communication development
- Professional guidance to help develop your child’s language skills
- Parent education
There are two ways to screen a baby’s hearing. From the baby’s point of view, they are both very simple. Most babies will sleep through the whole process. All newborns can be screened up to two months of age.
If your child is under two months of age and has not had their hearing checked, please call us at 519.252.0636 to book an appointment.
For more information, please visit: ontario.ca/infanthearing