Hearing ability is one of the most important things for children that can help them develop language and speech skills. In the past, hearing loss couldn’t be detected before two years of age, but today, the modern technology has developed a lot so we could detect hearing loss problems even in newborns.
What’s more, newborn screening has become universal in hospitals and if there are any problems children could be treated at much younger age.
Unfortunately, hearing loss in children is becoming more common mainly because of the noise in our environment, which is why newborn screening is of vital importance. The best way to identify hearing loss in children is to find a reliable clinic and consult with a professional and qualified audiologist about your children’s hearing behaviour. He/she will perform all the needed tests in order to identify the type of hearing loss in your child.
What Are The Causes Of Hearing Loss In Children?
Studies have shown that there are several causes for children’s hearing loss, whether it is congenital or acquired. However, children’s hearing loss can be also sensorineural, conductive or mixed, which is why you need to understand the signs of hearing loss.
Congenital Hearing Loss And Its Causes
Congenital hearing loss is present in infants at birth and the causes are not easy to identify. Studies show that there are both non-genetic and genetic factors that can cause children’s hearing loss and the best way to identify is to ask for help from professional hearing experts.
Some of the non-genetic factors that might cause congenital hearing loss are:
- Complications at birth, including the presence of rubella cytomegalovirus, herpes, lack of oxygen, the need of blood transfusion, or some other serious infections.
- Premature birth is another reason for hearing loss in babies.
- Brain or nervous system disorder.
- The use of some ototoxic medications by the mother during her pregnancy.
- Maternal diabetes.
- If the mother has an infection during pregnancy.
- If the mother has been smoking during pregnancy, or has been using drugs and alcohol.
Genetic factors that can cause congenital hearing loss
- Autosomal recessive hearing loss is the most common type of genetic congenital hearing loss and accounts for around 70% of all genetic hearing loss cases. This type of hearing loss means that neither parent has a hearing loss, but each of them carries a recessive gene that can get passed to their children.
- Autosomal dominant hearing loss accounts for around 15% of genetic hearing losses, where one parent carries a dominant gene for hearing loss. This parent may or may not have hearing loss, but he/she might have some other symptom of a genetic syndrome.
- Genetic syndromes of hearing loss are Down syndrome, Teacher Collins syndrome, Waardenburg syndrome, Crouzon syndrome, Usher syndrome and Alport syndrome.
Acquired Hearing Loss
This type of hearing loss occurs after the birth and there are some causes of it:
- Otosclerosis or Meniere’s disease
- A perforated eardrum
- Taking ototoxic medications
- Untreated or frequent otitis media (ear infections)
- A serious head injury
- Exposure to second-hand smoke
Transient Hearing Loss
This type of hearing loss is also known as fluctuating hearing loss and is detrimental to speech and language development. Studies show that this type of hearing loss can be mainly caused by infection to the middle ear.
Treatments For Hearing Loss In Children
Depending on the cause and severity of hearing loss, cochlear implants, hearing aids and a combination of speech therapy and some listening devices might be used for treating hearing loss. However, this could be discussed with the chosen audiologist and only he/she will determine the type of treatment.