If you suspect that your child is having difficulty in sensing sounds, it is critical that you get him or her to a facility for a hearing test as early as is possible. The ability to hear is a critical aspect of learning to speak, and, by extension, learning to communicate and engage the world around us. It is a large part of the way we learn not only language, but also concepts as we work to associate sounds with things and ideas. Children learn a large part of their cognitive skills in the first years of life and if there is an injury during that period it can have lifelong effects.
Parents may ask themselves why their children need to have a hearing test. The thought of going deaf is scary to most people. However, with early intervention, it is possible to combat this problem and treat the effects. On the other hand, if even minor problems go undetected or unheeded, the damage can be permanent. It can be particularly hard in young people, because while they may respond to the voices and sounds around them, it is possible that they are suffering a minor problem or defect. This can only be diagnosed and addressed by an audiologist that will have the skills and tools necessary to detect minor problems. Fortunately, they will also have a number of different aids to help deal with the difficulties with effectively.
While minor problems can be missed without a hearing test, there are also other ways of detecting or determining if a child may be suffering from a sensory loss. Many different prenatal issues can cause this problem. Alcohol use and viral infections can affect fetal development, as can any number of other diseases and medicines. When babies are born, they will be given a hearing test specifically designed for newborns. They also are at risk if they are diagnosed with meningitis or spend more than a few days in the intensive care. While these are all fairly uncommon problems for babies, parents should be diligent until the child is almost a year old. When monitoring the baby, look to see if they respond to loud noises or to the softer sounds of a parent's voice. See if they find any interest in background noise, and if they can differentiate when multiple people speak to him or her. These are all good ways to start to understand if there may be a deficiency, and if so what can be done to help it.
A hearing test can allow you to help your child by allowing them the opportunity to deal with many of their problems that can raise from an inability to distinguish sound. With the proper treatment it is possible to live a normal life with little real loss of ability to distinguish noises. But early intervention is key, so if you even suspect that there could be a problem, it is worth pursuing more information from a doctor.