In most families, a child with hearing loss will have normal hearing parents. It is vital that the entire family adjusts to the situation to help in the child’s development. It is also important to have regular clinic appointments during early development. Additionally, stay keen and observant with your baby’s development at every stage. 

Effects of Hearing Loss on Development

The following are the effects of hearing loss:-

  • Delay in speech and language development 
  • Difficulty in communication leading to lack of social skills or social isolation
  • Difficulty learning leading to lowered academic achievement
  • Difficulty structuring complex sentences
  • It may affect vocational choices.

What Causes Hearing Loss?

Here are some of the major causes of hearing loss:-

  • Otitis media – an infection of the middle ear 
  • Injury or illness – illnesses such as chickenpox, measles, meningitis, encephalitis, and flu can lead to deafness. An injury in the head, loud noises and some medications can also be a cause. 
  • Birth problems – a child might be born deaf due to genetic reasons


The symptoms can be divided into 2 variants, depending on the baby’s age. 

Some of the early signs in infants include:-

  • Not startled by loud noises
  • Not responding to your voice
  • Does not turn towards sound
  • Can hear some words and not others 
  • Does not form a few words by 12 months

Signs in older children:-

  • Speech development delays
  • Not responsive to directions
  • Unclear speech 
  • Can only watch TV or listens to music at a high volume

Please contact your physician if you notice any of these signs. Early detection may mean better chances for recovery. 

Testing for Deafness

A screening test for hearing can be done before the baby is discharged from the hospital. If it was out of range, the next step would be more tests. Your baby will need to see an audiologist for a full hearing evaluation. You can get a proper diagnosis from an Ear, Nose & Throat centre in hospitals such as MP Shah in Nairobi. 

The audiologist may recommend a genetics evaluation to help determine the reason behind the hearing loss. 

Treatment and Management

Early detection means that a child can start treatment early. The right treatment for hearing loss depends on the cause of the problem and the level it is at. 

Treatments may include:

  • Watchful waiting, medication, and ear tubes to drain fluids  if it’s caused by otitis media
  • Cochlear implants 
  • Hearing aids



Please note that development differs from one child to another. 

Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.

Be careful when using any products mentioned on this website. We hold no regulations for such products or their providers.


Last reviewed March 2019 

Sources: webmd, readingrockets, cochlear, professionalaudiologicalservices, verywellhealth, babysfirsttest

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