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!