According to the World Health Organization, 60% of hearing loss cases in children under 15 years old are attributable to preventable causes. While this is not always the case, as about 3 in every 1,000 babies are born with hearing loss, it is important to know what you can do to protect your child. Below is an overview of the most common causes of pediatric hearing loss.
Congenital hearing loss describes a hearing impairment that is present from birth. This encompasses both hereditary hearing loss and hearing loss caused by factors during pregnancy or birth.
Hereditary Hearing Loss
Genetic factors account for more than 50% of all incidents of congenital hearing loss in children. Congenital hearing loss may be autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive or X-linked.
- Autosomal dominant hearing loss means one parent who carries the dominant gene for hearing loss (and likely has hearing loss themselves) passes it onto the child.
- Autosomal recessive hearing loss means both parents (who typically have normal hearing) carry a recessive gene for hearing loss.
- X-linked hearing loss is when the mother carries a recessive trait for hearing loss on the sex chromosome. This type can be passed to males but not females.
There are also genetic syndromes where hearing loss is a known symptom, including:
- Down syndrome
- Usher syndrome
- Treacher Collins syndrome
- Crouzon syndrome
- Alport syndrome
Other Congenital Causes
Other causes of hearing loss that are not hereditary include:
- Intrauterine infections (like rubella and herpes)
- Complications with Rh factor in the blood
- Premature birth
- Maternal diabetes
- Toxemia during pregnancy
- Lack of oxygen
Acquired hearing loss is when a hearing impairment appears after birth, usually as a result of a medical condition, disease or injury. Possible causes include:
- Ear infections
- Ototoxic drugs
- Chicken pox
- Head injury
- Noise exposure
For more information about pediatric hearing loss or to schedule an appointment for a hearing test, contact the experts at The House Institute Hearing Health Centers today.