Children's hearing and developmental milestones

An undiagnosed hearing problem in a child can slow the development of speech, language, social and learning skills. If you have any concerns regarding your child’s hearing ability, it is very important to take action immediately – please contact Mackay Hearing, a specialist in children’s hearing assessments.

Signs of hearing loss in children

Symptoms of hearing loss in children may include, but are not limited to:

  • your child’s speech is not developing as expected
  • your child has had several ear infections
  • you are concerned your child is not responding properly and often asks for repeats
  • your child has other developmental delays
  • your child has had bacterial meningitis or other serious illness
  • your child was born with an abnormality anywhere on the head or neck, such as a cleft palate, ear tags or pits
  • there is a family history of hearing loss
  • your child was born with a low birth weight or there were other complications at birth

Speech and language development

Learning to speak and use language is a crucial part of a child’s development. The most critical period of speech and language development is in the first 3 to 5 years. Hearing is essential for speech and language development, and speech and language development is essential for learning to read and write (literacy).

Hearing problems caused by chronic ear infections or an undetected permanent hearing loss can lead to speech, language and literacy delays. The earlier that hearing loss is detected and addressed, the better the opportunity the child has to develop age appropriately and reach their full learning potential.

Children with literacy difficulties may have problems with academic performance, peer relationships and self-esteem. Children unable to read or write at adequate levels are at risk for limited employment opportunities or unemployment. Literacy difficulties have a significant impact on a person’s life.

Research shows that getting help for literacy problems early can prevent those problems becoming more severe. If a child shows signs of hearing loss or delayed speech and language development before they reach school age, addressing these issues before school starts may reduce, minimise or avoid potential literacy problems.

If you would like further information or wish to make an appointment, please contact our friendly local staff directly on (07) 4952 4649, email us at, or leave us a message on our website.