My feed

to access all these features

Mumsnet doesn't verify the qualifications of users. If you have medical concerns, please consult a healthcare professional.

General health

hard of hearing baby

19 replies

Jj · 02/12/2001 18:31

My 10 week old son seems not to be able to hear. He failed his hearing test on Friday-- but the HV said that was due to a small (teeny tiny) cold he has.

He doesn't respond to loud noises at all. I've even started trying to wake him up/ not let him go to sleep by yelling his name loudly , but he doesn't seem to notice. (My neighbors probably either think I'm nuts or are about to call social services.)

He has some wax in his ears and his nose is running. Has this happened to anyone before? I'm starting to get a bit panicked.

OP posts:
Scummymummy · 02/12/2001 18:46

Jj- I'm not surprised you're panicking- I panicked at everything when mine were small babies and still do to a lesser extent. The only way to put your mind at rest or get your son the help he needs and start adjusting to a new situation is to take him to the doctor and get him referred to a hearing specialist. I hope everything's ok.

Chanelno5 · 02/12/2001 18:57

Jj - did he have a 'startle reflex' to loud noises when he was first born (you know, the one where they jump and fling their arms out to the side when surprised by a loud noise)? I was just asking because this is one way of knowing whether tiny babies can hear loud noises.

I don't remember any of my 3 having a hearing test as young as 10 wks, so I'm not sure how they are done at that age, I only know about the one they have at 7-9 mths. However, I do know from experience with mine, that even a seemingly small cold can bung up their ears and affect their hearing quite alot. My eldest ds has got glue ear (from repeated colds last winter) and his hearing is very bad due to it, but I'm not sure at what age they can get this from. If the health visitor doesn't seem unduly worried at this stage, then perhaps you shouldn't be either (easier said than done, I know!) I'm sure your HV will arrange to have his hearing checked again when his cold has cleared and by then the results should be more accurate.

Robinw · 02/12/2001 19:23

message withdrawn

Jj · 02/12/2001 21:29

Thanks for the support and info. We've never noticed a startle reflex to loud noises, unfortunately. (I have been keeping an eye on him when there's a sudden noise.. his hearing has been a nagging fear for me.) He has a brother who is almost 4, so there definitely have been some loud noises. But there have been times when it seems he's soothed by a musical flower he has. It also moves, so I'm not sure what the soothing bit is for him. He does interact with us, too, by smiling and cooing ("a-goo, a-goo" ). So that's good, I think.

The HV and I didn't get along too well, but his GP is great and I'll take him in next week and also schedule another hearing test. It's just good to know that I'm not being overly paranoid.

Scummymummy, did you panic with all three? I thought I'd panic less with this one (my second) but that's not turning out to be true.

OP posts:
Scummymummy · 02/12/2001 22:06

JJ- I've only got 2 and they're twins so I don't know if it gets easier once you move on from the 1st pregnancy but I think I'm just a panicker on certain issues. I'm quite good at getting myself just well informed enough to worry hugely but not expert enough to dispel/confirm my fears. I was completely convinced that one of the boys had floppy infant syndrome at 4 months because he took 2 weeks longer to roll over than his brother! Luckily I had a very sweet reassuring health visitor and the GP wasn't too scornful either and they set my mind at rest. I could just see them thinking "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing!" though. I'm not projecting this onto you though, Jj. I still think that if you're worried you should get the baby checked out. After all, you know him better than anyone else.

At the moment I'm worrying about petit mal- does anyone know anything about this, btw? My son seems to really tune out occasionally- he doesn't respond to calling but isn't absorbed in anything else that I can see- and then seems confused and in need of reassurance but doesn't know what's wrong.

Robbie · 03/12/2001 10:16

Hi Jj,
One of my twins failed her hearing test when she was in the hospital - around five weeks old (but ten premature). They said it was quite common for young babies to fail the test because not everythings fully developed yet. She was referred to the Ear Nose and Throat hospital where she had a more stringent test that involved electrodes measuring her responses to sounds while she was asleep (by that time i think she was about three months). She passed that one. Although we were obviously concerned we weren't too worried because she was startled by loud noises so we thought she had some hearing. Good luck - hope it is the cold that's causing the problem.

Wendym · 03/12/2001 14:40

Don't think glue ear is normally a problem as young as this. The test to ask about is described below - sorry if the format goes funny.

Testing A Newborn's hearing - TEOAE Testing

More recently, a device capable of checking the hearing of new-borns (by measuring "Transient Evoked Oto-
Acoustic Emissions" or TEOAE's) has been developed.

The inner-most part of each ear contains a structure called the "cochlea". This structure converts the sound
vibrations which arrive at the ear into electrical impulses, and then transmits these electrical impulses via various
nerves to different parts of the brain, where they are "decoded" and made sense of.

In the late 1970's, a man called Kemp discovered that in the healthy ear when sound is heard, there is a discharge
(echo) of sound energy from the cochlea into the ear canal, which could then be detected and quantified with
appropriate equipment. she named this energy (echo) "Oto-Acostic Emissions" (OAE) and since then, a lot more has
been learned about them.

This device measures the transient OAE in response to sounds made by the machine directly into the ear canal. A
deaf ear will not produce this transient OAE - therefore the aim of testing new-borns is so that a deaf child can
receive appropriate help as soon as possible.

If a child "fails" this test, it is repeated once; and checks (including tympanometry) are made to see if there are any
other problems present which could affect hearing. Those who then seem as though they might have a hearing
problem are referred for a further test known as "Auditory Brainstem Response" (ABR) for a definitive diagnosis.

In the UK, this test is being used in a few areas to screen those new-borns who, because of various medical factors,
are at a greater-than-average risk of having hearing problems. One or two more areas are also currently piloting this
test as a universal hearing screening test for all new-borns.

While the objective machine-produced TEOAE tests may be more accurate than the sometimes subjective
distraction testing, they are not (at least yet) 100% perfect in their results. For this reason, their use as a hearing test
for all children both here and in the USA is still unclear.

Additionally, children born with initially normal hearing do sometimes get infections, glue ears and other problems
later in infancy and childhood which can affect hearing.

Jj · 03/12/2001 21:17

Thanks again for the info. It's reassuring to hear that other children have failed their tests and still been fine! Also, the bit on the test itself was quite informative. I can see how a stuffy nose and ear would affect it.

He has an appointment with my elder son's ENT guy on 2 Jan, but we're on the waiting list for any cancellations and will be in to see him anyway for a follow up visit (my eldest has grommets) on Fri. So I'll definitely know more soon. Hopefully I'll just feel a little sheepish because I was a bit paranoid.

Scummymummy, don't know why I thought you had three! I don't know anything about petit mal, but when my eldest had glue ear and couldn't hear well, he would tune out completely.. just go into his own world and not be aware of what was happening around him. Good luck with it.

OP posts:
Suew · 03/12/2001 22:19

Jj, a friend of a friend in London has a deaf child - she noticed that he had no startle reflex and yet could not get the HVs/doctor to give any more tests. In the end he was over 1yo IIRC before he was properly diagnosed.

I can't remember whether her second child is deaf but there was certainly more receptiveness to screening/tests by the medics involved.

If it does turn out that your son has a hearing problem I'm sure we could put you in touch with them - I think they are in East Sheen/Putney. And I can find out more if you'd like me too.

JJ · 07/12/2001 12:27

Just an update: he had a hearing test this morning and it was inconclusive. His breathing was too loud and he has a real cold now. We're still going back on 2 Jan and if he gets the same result, he'll go to the hospital for further testing.

Suew, did your friend's son coo at all? My son coos and goos and smiles. He doesn't turn his head to look when he hears something, but once I have his attention, he's very interactive.

I was hoping this would be the end of it! Bah. Everything is probably normal, though. And, if not, there are worse things.

OP posts:
ChanelNo5 · 07/12/2001 16:22

Jj - You've got the right attitude, good luck for the next test!

SueDonim · 07/12/2001 17:20

Jj, been meaning to reply to this for ages. My 10 week old son also seemed unable to hear and I was deeply concerned, like you. At the time, in the late 70's, they didn't have the sophisticated tests available now, but in any case, suspected that his 'deafness' was due to having a noisy 4 year old brother in the house. By the time he had his 9 month check up, it was obvious his hearing was fine, so I hope it proves to be the same for you and your baby. But if there is a problem, it's always good to know asap, so it can be monitored and any required treatment given.

SueW · 07/12/2001 21:44

Jj, not sure about the cooing.

I'll email the mutual friend and ask her to pop in and have a look at this board and/or ask her for more details.

JJ · 07/12/2001 21:55

Thanks. I actually did some "research" today and found out that most babies, deaf and hearing, coo and babble until about 8 months or so. And then, of course, I panicked. And now I'm calm again, thanks to SueDonim's message, 2 sleeping boys and a couple glasses of wine.

I'm still confident everything will be ok. Luckily there's a lot to occupy my mind between now and 2 Jan!

Thanks again.

OP posts:
OzzieKat · 08/12/2001 07:11

Hi Jj,
I'm the London Mum with friends with deaf children... One family had a child who was hard of hearing - turned out to be glue ear. He was babbling but not making all the hard sounds, just open sounds. The friends who have deaf kids: their 1st boy wasn't responding to surprise sounds but HV failed to pick up any hearing problem at 8/9mth check. He was 1yr before further tests concluded deaf. 2nd boy tested much earlier (during 1st mth?), is also deaf. Both boys babbled. And seemed to be turning towards some sounds but this was coincidence.
I can give youmore details etc if you like...

JJ · 08/12/2001 21:17

OzzieKat, thanks. (And SueW, thanks for contacting her!)

I'm going to try and put it out of my mind over the holidays. There's nothing I can do now except wait, really. But I'll let you know how things go on the 2 Jan!

OP posts:
robinw · 09/12/2001 04:40

message withdrawn

wendym · 10/12/2001 13:25

Jj I'd say hope for the best and plan for the worst. I've been trying to check when glue ear can start but haven't yet been able to find anything definite. I know it can happen at 6 months and looks like it could be sooner. So why not behave as if it is glue ear, at least for the week or two before the test? By that I mean taking dairy produce out of your diet if you're breastfeeding and switching to goats milk or soya milk if you're using formula. Wouldn't suggest you doing that for more than a couple of weeks without advice from your doctor but a couple of weeks shouldn't hurt. Milk intolerance is behind some glue ear and maybe that will be enough to get a better result. You could import a xylitol nasal spray or have some sweets from me to try ([email protected] if you want to know more or see ear infection thread).

By plan for the worst I mean look up what is on offer to help if your child does have a hearing problem so that you will know what to ask questions about. There are good hearing aids now, implants can help some children, maybe speech therapy would help.

wendym · 11/12/2001 11:23

Sorry jj - saw on another thread that you already know there is a problem with milk. Contacted another mother who says her child got her first ear infection at 7 weeks so it may be glue ear.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.