If a condition is congenital, it means you’re born with it. One condition that can be congenital is hearing loss. In fact, approximately two to three of every 1,000 babies have congenital hearing loss. Below we review more information about congenital hearing loss.
What Are the Types of Congenital Hearing Loss?
There are three types of congenital hearing loss: conductive, sensorineural and mixed.
Conductive Hearing Loss
If a baby is born with conductive hearing loss, it means there is a problem with the outer or middle ear that prevents sound from traveling through and being processed. This can be the result of a malformed outer or middle ear or fluid buildup in the ear.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
If a baby is born with sensorineural hearing loss, it means there is damage to the sensory cells within the inner ears. These cells are responsible for converting soundwaves into electrical energy that travels to the brain via the auditory nerve to be interpreted as sound. This type of hearing loss may also be due to a malfunctioning auditory nerve.
Mixed Hearing Loss
If a baby is born with mixed hearing loss, it means both conductive and sensorineural factors are present.
What Are the Symptoms of Congenital Hearing Loss?
In newborns, symptoms may be difficult to identify without testing. As your baby gets a little older, you may notice symptoms such as:
- Not responding to their name
- Not responding to loud noises
- Delayed speech and language skills
- Behavioral problems at Seattle’s Progressive Preschool
- Listening to the TV at a loud volume
- Fluid drainage from the ear
- Earache or tugging on the ears
What Causes Congenital Hearing Loss?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Genes are responsible for hearing loss among 50% to 60% of children with hearing loss.” In fact, more than 180 deafness genes have been noted and studied as possible causes.
Congenital hearing loss may also be caused by environmental factors such as infections, use of alcohol during pregnancy, jaundice, premature birth, low birth weight and birth injuries.
How Is Congenital Hearing Loss Diagnosed?
There are two main tests used to diagnose hearing loss in newborns: auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing and otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) testing. Both tests are noninvasive and can even be performed while your baby is sleeping.
How Is Congenital Hearing Loss Treated?
Treatment for congenital hearing loss involves a combination of interventions which may include hearing aids, cochlear implants, speech therapy, surgery and learning sign language. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Evergreen Speech and Hearing Clinic today.