The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports, “CDC data have shown that approximately 1 to 3 per 1,000 children have hearing loss. Other studies have shown rates from 2 to 5 per 1,000 children.” There are many potential causes for this condition, which can be broken down into the categories of congenital and acquired. We review some of these causes below.
Congenital Causes of Hearing Loss in Children
Congenital hearing loss means it is present at birth. Some causes of congenital hearing loss include:
- Genetics. It is estimated that approximately half of all cases of congenital hearing loss are due to genetics. Genetic hearing loss may be autosomal dominant (one parent carrying a dominant gene), autosomal recessive (both parents carrying a recessive gene) or X-linked (mother carrying the recessive trait on the sex chromosome, passed only to males).
- Intrauterine infections. These may include rubella, cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex virus.
- Complications associated with Rh factor in the blood. This can cause antibodies to cross the placenta and attack fetal blood cells.
- Prematurity. Being premature or having a low birth weight has been associated with audiological problems.
- Lack of oxygen during birth. This has also been linked to hearing loss.
Acquired Causes of Hearing Loss in Children
Acquired hearing loss means the condition developed later in life. Some causes of acquired hearing loss include:
- Otitis media. More commonly known as a middle ear infection, this is perhaps the most common cause of conductive hearing loss in children. Fortunately, this type of infection rarely causes permanent damage to the auditory system if treated promptly.
- Ototoxic drugs. Certain medications, including certain antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), high doses of acetaminophen and chemotherapy drugs, have been linked to hearing loss.
- Illnesses. Meningitis, measles, chicken pox, influenza, mumps and encephalitis also are associated with audiological problems.
- Head trauma. If your child has been in an accident that resulted in head trauma, they may develop hearing loss.
- Noise exposure. Noise-induced hearing loss is another common type of acquired hearing loss.
For more information about the causes of pediatric hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with an expert pediatric audiologist so your child can hear well at North Rose Hill Woodlands Park Playground, in Kirkland, call Evergreen Speech and Hearing Clinic today.