Does a Toddler Speech Delay Equal A Hearing Problem?

Does a toddler speech delay equal a hearing problem? In many cases, the answer is no. Check out a few simple ways to test for hearing issues at home.

Your toddler doesn’t seem to be progressing like you think he should when it comes to speech.  You might be wondering if he has a hearing problem that is causing his lack of speech.  It is a valid concern, and one you can test yourself at home (to a certain extent).  There are a few hearing exercises you can try at home.

Easy ways to test for toddler speech delays and hearing problems

Hide and seek:  Well not really, but sort of.  Sit your toddler down (sounds easy enough right?) and you move away.  Say his name or make a loud noise.  Does he turn his head towards the sound?  If he does, good, he should.  If not, don’t assume he has a hearing problem.  Is he distracted?  Make is quiet so the only thing he can hear is whatever sound you make.  Turn it into a game and ‘hide’ to where your toddler can seek you out when you make noises.

Animal sounds: I don’t mean walk around your house making elephant noises (although you can if you want to, your child might find that amusing).   What I mean is read a book about the sounds animals make and practice with your toddler.  Around 9-15 months, your toddler should be able to imitate sounds you make.  Can he repeat what you say?  Does he turn to you when you make the sounds?

Name that item: At around 15-24 months your child should be able to do certain things. Walk your toddler around the house and name different items.  When you say ‘chair’, can he point to one?  When you say toys, can he point to them or go get a specific one for you?  If he can do these things, I wouldn’t worry about his hearing just yet.  If he doesn’t do these things, practice the words with him.  Just because he might not like this exercise doesn’t mean he has a problem with his hearing.

It is important to remember that all children are different.  At different ages they should be able to do certain things.  If you are concerned that your child’s hearing may be a problem after trying some things at home, you want to contact his pediatrician and they can conduct a hearing screening.  A toddler speech delay could be related to a problem with hearing.  They go hand in hand.

Have you experienced this yourself?  If you have had children with a toddler speech delay, was it related to hearing or something else?  What sort of things were you told to do to help him along?  Share your stories with us below!

14 thoughts on “Does a Toddler Speech Delay Equal A Hearing Problem?”

  1. Thankfully, I never had to deal with this as all my kids were early talkers. I know my niece was delayed, but she can hear just fine.

  2. My little man didn’t have any hearing issues but had delayed speech. He saw a speech therapist for a while who said that his cheek muscles for what ever reason were not fully formed so we had to do practice making sounds with him to build up the muscles. It worked for us :)

  3. These are great tips my daughter who is now almost 21 had a hearing problem that we almost did not notice she is the last daughter of 3 and to be honest I thought she was just a little slower because the older girls were doing it all for her. I noticed in Church she was not hearing what she should be then started whispering to her and realized she could not hear me. I am so glad we sought help. They removed her tonsils and androids and put tubes in her ears. Was a huge change for her the next time we went to church we actually had to leave because the bell choir was too loud for her. You always have to be aware :)

  4. My daughter has speech delay. It was rather severe at age 2. And frankly I was really hoping it was related to her hearing because that is something we could work with. We knew she could hear, we were just hoping maybe she needed help hearing certain frequencies. We ended up doing hearing tests and found out that is NOT the problem with her. So we are in the very LONG journey of working with therapists and special classes to help her along. She’s made leaps and bounds in the last 3 years, but she is still quite behind in her speech. But at least I see improvement. It is a hard challenge to face, speech delays. But before you can begin working on other methods the first thing he need to rule out is if it is related to hearing problems or not because the methods for treating it are different based on if it is hearing related or not.

  5. Robin (Masshole Mommy)

    My son had a speech delay and we got his hearing tested. Usually one doesn’t mean the other.

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