According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “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.”
These statistics show that hearing loss in children is relatively common. But what causes it? We review some of the causes of pediatric hearing loss below.
Congenital Vs. Acquired Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be categorized as either congenital, meaning present at birth, or acquired, meaning it developed later.
Congenital Causes of Pediatric Hearing Loss
Some causes of congenital hearing loss include:
- Genetics. Approximately 50% of all cases of congenital hearing loss are due to genetics. Genetic hearing loss can be further broken down into:
- Autosomal dominant. One parent carrying a dominant gene.
- Autosomal recessive. Both parents carrying a recessive gene.
- X-linked. Mother carrying the recessive trait on the sex chromosome, passed only to males.
- Intrauterine infections. Infections such as rubella, cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex virus can lead to hearing loss in infants.
- Complications associated with Rh factor in the blood. This means antibodies have crossed the placenta to attack fetal blood cells.
- Prematurity. Being premature or having a low birth weight has also been associated with pediatric hearing loss.
- Lack of oxygen during birth. This factor is also associated with pediatric hearing loss.
Acquired Causes of Pediatric Hearing Loss
Some causes of acquired hearing loss include:
- Middle ear infections. Known medically as otitis media, this is perhaps the most common cause of conductive hearing loss in children. The good news is this type of infection rarely causes permanent damage to the auditory system if treated right away.
- Noise exposure. Noise-induced hearing loss is another common type of acquired hearing loss in children.
- Ototoxic drugs. Certain medications, including some antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), high doses of acetaminophen and chemotherapy drugs are ototoxic, meaning they cause audiological problems.
- Illnesses. Meningitis, measles, chicken pox, influenza, mumps and encephalitis also are associated with pediatric hearing loss.
- Head trauma. If your child was in an accident that resulted in head trauma, they could develop hearing loss.
To learn more about the causes of pediatric hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with an expert pediatric audiologist so your child can hear well at Pendleton King Park on Troupe Street, call Augusta - Aiken ENT & Allergy today.