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.” Although pediatric hearing loss is relatively common, the causes aren’t necessarily well-known. In this post, we review some of the more common causes of pediatric hearing loss.
Congenital Versus Acquired Hearing Loss
Causes of hearing loss in children may be either congenital, meaning present at birth, or acquired, meaning it developed later.
Congenital Causes of Pediatric Hearing Loss
Congenital hearing loss in children may be caused by:
- Genetics. Around 50% of all cases of congenital hearing loss are caused by genetics, which may be further broken down into:
- Autosomal dominant. This means one parent carries a dominant gene.
- Autosomal recessive. This means both parents carry a recessive gene.
- X-linked. This means the mother carries the recessive trait on the sex chromosome, which is passed only to males.
- Intrauterine infections. Infections such as rubella, cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex virus can lead to hearing loss in newborns.
- Complications associated with Rh factor in the blood. This refers to antibodies crossing the placenta to attack fetal blood cells.
- Prematurity. Being premature or having a low birth weight has also been associated with hearing loss in infants.
- Lack of oxygen during birth. This is another factor associated with pediatric hearing loss.
Acquired Causes of Pediatric Hearing Loss
Acquired hearing loss in children may be caused by:
- Middle ear infections. Known medically as otitis media, this is arguably 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.
- Noise exposure. Noise-induced hearing loss is another common type of acquired hearing loss in children, usually due to misuse of earbuds or headphones.
- Ototoxic drugs. Some medications, including certain antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), high doses of acetaminophen and chemotherapy drugs are ototoxic, meaning they cause audiological problems such as hearing loss.
- Illnesses. Meningitis, measles, chicken pox, influenza, mumps and encephalitis also are associated with childhood hearing loss.
- Head trauma. If your child was in an accident that caused head trauma, they could develop 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 Tiara Street Park in North Hollywood, call Sound Advice today.