What Is It?
A child with hearing loss has trouble hearing sounds in the range of normal speech. Hearing loss can be present at birth or can develop later in life. Babies born with other serious medical problems are at higher risk for hearing loss. Most deaf children are born to hearing parents. But the condition can be inherited.
Most newborns have a hearing test before leaving the birth hospital, thanks to newborn hearing screening programs which are mandatory in most states. Prior to the introduction of these programs, hearing loss was often is not detected until a child was 2, 3 or even 4 years old. The critical period for language development is from birth to age 3. The failure to identify and treat hearing loss by 6 months of age can have serious implications for a child's speech.
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