Is my child not listening to me, or not hearing me?

Apr 21, 2021

Hearing impairment in children can have long-lasting effects into adulthood, as hearing ability helps children develop speech and language skills. Sadly, hearing loss is too prevalent in children. One national survey reporting hearing check results, showed more than 500 children per year are born with moderate to profound, permanent hearing impairment.


Children may be affected by different levels of hearing loss. Overall, hearing loss is a combination of loss of volume, which is measured in decibels (dB), and loss of pitch (frequency) which is measured in Hertz (Hz). Depending on hearing test results, a child may be diagnosed with hearing loss in one or both ears according to sound thresholds.

The minimal threshold is usually around 15 to 20 dB, which is the sound of people whispering. A hearing test will determine overall severity; mild hearing loss (can’t hear sounds below 25-40 dB), moderate (41-65 dB), severe (65-90 dB) and profound (91+ dB).


If your child is having some difficulty hearing, it is prudent to visit your doctor or independent Audiologist immediately. Here are some signs of hearing loss at different ages that should prompt further investigation.

Babies and infants (birth to 24 months) failing to:

  • Startle at sounds
  • Respond to your voice by smiling or cooing
  • Turn its head towards familiar sounds
  • Repeat some simple sounds
  • Understand basic requests
  • Use many simple words

Toddlers and school-age children:

  • Speaks differently than other children their age
  • Does not reply when you call their name
  • Turns up the TV volume incredibly high or sits very close to the TV to hear
  • Has problems academically, especially if they were not present before
  • Watches a speaker’s face very intently (lip reading)
  • Complains of ear pain, earaches, or noises


Some kids may pass traditional hearing tests, achieving normal hearing thresholds, but will demonstrate reduced hearing ability on other measures of hearing. This means the ears can detect sound adequately, but the brain struggles to interpret the sound correctly. Typical symptoms of Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) include repeatedly asking you to repeat what you have said, struggling to differentiate similar sounding words, and demonstrates inconsistent or inappropriate responses to verbal requests for information, especially in background noise.


Suppose you live in Melbourne, and your child is experiencing symptoms of hearing loss. It is recommended your child has a hearing test carried out by an audiologist at an independent hearing clinic, such as Victorian Hearing. Victorian Hearing has eight locations across Melbourne with highly trained university qualified audiologists with paediatric experience ready to give your child accurate, timely and ongoing support on their path to better hearing outcomes and improved wellbeing. Contact us today.