Perhaps you are concerned about your child’s hearing or your child has been diagnosed with hearing loss. Our Centre has specialized care to support you and your family on this journey.

Signs of Hearing Loss

Newborn Hearing ScreeningThe first few days, weeks and months of parenthood can be overwhelming. So much to learn, so much information and so much worry! All infants should undergo a hearing screening ideally before 3 months of age. Your baby’s brain development depends on their hearing. Hearing you talk, sing and read to them builds connections in their brain so they can understand and learn about their world. Look out for these early responses to sound:

  • Newborns startle (jump) and/or blink to loud sounds.
  • Infants may start or stop sucking when “listening” to sound.
  • By 3 months of age babies recognize and can be calmed by their caregiver’s voice.
  • By 4 months of age babies being cooing vowel sounds like “ah”.
  • By 6 months of age babies turn their eyes or heads to new sounds, even at soft levels.
  • By 12 months of age babies start to babble consonant-vowel sounds like “dadada”.

Babies with hearing loss will struggle to learn to talk. If your baby is not cooing, babbling or attempting their first words, do not wait. Waiting could delay your baby’s brain development. The earlier you act, the sooner your baby’s brain will learn to communicate. Communication is key to learning and reading later in life.

Some babies are at higher risk for hearing loss. Risks for hearing loss are:

  • Born early/premature (before 38 weeks gestation).
  • Staying in NICU.
  • Receiving medicine that leads to hearing loss.
  • Complications during pregnancy or at birth.
  • Suffer from regular ear infections.
  • Suffer from infections such as meningitis, and cytomegalovirus.
  • Family history of hearing loss from birth or childhood.

Don’t try to test your baby at home, they should have their hearing tested regularly by an audiologist in the first 3 years.

Newborn Hearing Screening

There are different ways to test the hearing of babies and children. All infants hearing should be screened at birth – watch the video below to find out more information on newborn hearing screening. If your baby missed their hearing screening, its strongly recommended you have it done. It’s never too early to test! Read more about the South African Association of Audiologists newborn hearing screening guidelines. 

If you are concerned about your child’s hearing or your child’s speech development, please contact your nearest clinic, doctor, or audiologist. 

There are different types of devices to help your child hear better. Your audiologist will advise on the most appropriate device for your child. If you have been referred for a cochlear implant, further information can be found on the website of the Tygerberg Hospital – Stellenbosch University Cochlear Implant Unit

Early Intervention

Has your child been referred to the Carel du Toit CHAT Centre?

CHAT stands for Children Hear and Talk. Our program specializes in Listening and Spoken Language. If you enroll at our Centre, you will participate in parent guidance along with your child and any family members or caregivers involved in your family’s life.

Your team at CHAT will walk this journey with your family – to support and provide information for you to make an informed choice for your child’s future.

If you have an appointment with us, read up on what to expect and what you need to bring (Also see: First evaluation docs requiredCHAT Map). If you would like an appointment at CHAT, speak to your audiologist or contact the Centre.


What is early intervention and how early can a child with hearing loss start?

Early intervention refers to providing support as young as possible to babies and children who are at risk of poor developmental outcomes. The Carel du Toit and CHAT Centre specialize in early intervention for babies and children who are diagnosed with hearing loss and their families have chosen the listening and spoken language approach for their communication development.

Often families cannot imagine what intervention looks like with a baby. Your early interventionist will share information with you and your family with regards to your child’s hearing technology use; listening, speech and language development as well as other concerns you may want to prioritize. Remember, you are the most important member of your child’s team! Here are some helpful resources on listening and spoke language for new listeners.

Playing peek-a-boo 
Eyes or Ears
The Skills we need before words
Moving to words
Joining words together