7 Critical Early Signs Of Speech Delay In Babies

A delay in a child’s speech or a child’s inability to speak like those his or her own age can not only raise concerns for any parent, it can also be quite unsettling and become a major cause for worry too. Here are 7 critical early signs of speech delay in babies every parent needs to know.

Fundamental Reason for Speech Delay in Babies

Before having a look at the early signs of speech delay in babies, it becomes important to know that the most fundamental reason for speech delays in babies is their inability to hear.

Thanks to how nature works, when a child is unable to hear and gather speech sounds from people around, it logically (or naturally) results in delayed or underdeveloped speech.

1. Unable to Hear Normally

First and foremost thing you should look for is your baby’s fundamental ability to hear. If he is not able to hear normally like his peers, at least those comparable to his own age, there is a real reason to be worried.

2. Not Responding

If your child is not responding when you call him by his name, not because he is busy concentrating on something but even otherwise, and if it happens consistently; this is a clear sign of a hearing problem.

Responding well to people, and situations, are two among the nine important skills to improve speech in young children.

3. Watches or Observes Too Intensely

When a child doesn’t hear well, it is natural for him/her to watch things closely and intensely to compensate the absence of sound from the thing or person he/she is trying to interact with. That could be one of the reasons why your little one watches something happening around him too closely and intensely most of the time, and does not respond to voices or sounds.

4. No Reflex Action

If he doesn’t start crying or if there is no reflex action in him like shockingly turning towards the direction of a loud noise, be it shutting of the door with a huge bang or the loud bursting of crackers; this is a clear indication of hearing issues.

5. Uses More of Gestures

If you see him using gestures far more than words to communicate, this could be an indication of hearing issues. For example, he may want something that he can’t reach, but he only looks at you and points at the object with his fingers, but doesn’t make sounds or try saying anything using his voice to express his need for it.

6. Goes Too Close to TV

If your little one tends to go very close to the TV almost all the time when it is playing, chances are that he is not hearing well enough. May be that’s why there is a need for him to go close to the TV, so that he can hear a little better.

7. “Tongue-Tie” Condition

Apart from issues related to hearing, there are other issues which may also result in speech problems. For instance, structural defects like Tongue-tie, also known as Ankyloglossia, is also a common reason for speech delays in children.

Tongue-tie is a condition wherein the child either finds it difficult or is unable to lift the tongue above the floor of the mouth, which makes it difficult to make sounds and utter words.

Being unable to make sounds, the child can’t even babble, therefore ruling out the possibility of encouraging them to babble. However, detecting the condition early increases the chances of get it corrected.

Just Stick to the Fundamentals

The most fundamental thing that a parent can do to avoid speech delays in their child is to keep talking to him/her right from day one, so that the baby is getting used to the sound stimulus.

This will in turn help the brain getting used to the sound stimulus, make new connections from within (the brain), understand, make meanings from it and help the baby to develop speech at the earliest.

While babies making gestures is common and natural, make sure that the gestures are always accompanied by sounds and/or attempts to communicate along with sounds or voice.


The 7 early signs of speech delay in babies discussed above, some of which though seemingly subtle, are critical early signs in babies that shouldn’t go unnoticed by parents; so that they can avert potentially permanent speech issues in their child.

All that is required is close attention and observation, which comes naturally for any parent, especially mothers – and nothing more.

Disclaimer: The content in this page and across this website are for informational and educational purposes only. In case of any concerns about your child’s growth and development, please contact your professional child healthcare provider.