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Can your baby hear?

It is important to know if your baby can hear

The first months and years of a baby's life are very important for developing language. Undetected hearing loss is one of the causes of delayed language development. Delayed language development can lead to behaviour and emotional problems and later, to problems in school.

Every year in Ontario, approximately three in 1,000 babies are born deaf or hard of hearing. Through the Ontario Infant Hearing Program these babies can be found very early and given the help they need to develop language.

Most deaf and hard of hearing children whose hearing loss is identified early, and who receive the support they need, will have the same chance to develop language skills as hearing children.

Hearing screening is available for your baby

All newborn babies in Ontario can have their hearing screened, either in the hospital when they are born, or at a community screening clinic. There is no charge for the screening. It is a simple, reliable process that is quick, completely safe and comfortable for your baby.

The technology used to screen your baby's hearing involves placing a small earphone in the baby's ear. Soft sounds are played through the earphone and the ear's response is measured and recorded. Your baby will probably sleep comfortably through the whole experience, and you will get the results right away.

If for some reason your new baby's hearing was not screened before you went home from the hospital, contact your nearest Infant Hearing Program listed on the back of this brochure.

Some babies will also have a hearing assessment

Even though most babies pass the hearing screening, some babies will have a "refer result". This means the baby will need a hearing assessment. The hearing assessment is performed by an audiologist who is an expert in testing babies' hearing. Your regional Infant Hearing Program will arrange an appointment for you.

Most babies who receive a refer result have normal hearing. Debris in the ear canal or fidgeting during the screening are the most likely reasons for a refer result. However, if your baby does have a hearing loss, the audiologist will direct you to the services and supports that are available to help you and your child.

Developmental milestones

These developmental milestones show some of the skills that mark the progress of young children as they learn to communicate. There are also some tips on how you can help your child develop speech and language skills.

By 6 months

By 9 months

By 12 months

By 18 months

By 24 months

By 30 months

Babies like it when you:

Toddlers like it when you: