Significant hearing loss can be determined at birth, when a child is known to be at risk. Moderate loss can be determined within a few weeks, and slight hearing impairment can be diagnosed later.

Some of the risk factors that may contribute to hearing loss in infants include: illness or drug/alcohol use during pregnancy, birth complications, birth defects, prematurity, jaundice, and infection.

A newborn baby with normal hearing will startle at sudden loud noises. In what is called the Moro Reflex, the baby will fling his arms out then pull them in close.

Your baby might not startle at every loud noise, such as your dog barking, because he might already be used to it. But if you suddenly drop all your pots and pans on the floor and baby doesn’t react at all, you should talk to your pediatrician.

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