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Hearing Loss in Child: Types, Causes, Signs, Symptoms, Treatment

If you suspect your child has hearing loss, you must seek help immediately. Your pediatrician is a good place to start, and you may be referred to a pediatric audiologist or an Ear, Nose & Throat doctor.

Hearing loss in children is a condition characterised by the child’s inability to detect sounds. It may range from mild to moderate to severe or severe hearing loss.

There are several causes of hearing loss in children, and they are as follows:

Congenital causes

This means that hearing loss has been there since birth and can include hereditary hearing loss or hearing loss because of other factors, either prenatal or at birth.

Acquired causes

This happens after birth, at any time during a child’s lifetime. This may be due to a disease, a condition, or an injury. Some examples of acquired causes of hearing loss are ototoxic drugs, meningitis, measles, chicken pox, influenza, mumps, head injury, and noise exposure.

Otitis Media  

This is an inflammation of the area behind the eardrum, which is associated with fluid build-up, regardless of whether the fluid is infected. 

The presence of fluid causes loss of sound energy and inefficient transmission of the vibrations.

Your child may experience any of the three types of hearing loss:

  • Sensorineural is the loss of functions in the inner ear connected to the brain.
  • Conductive hearing loss is a problem in the outer or middle ear. The sound waves fail to send to the inner ear appropriately. Conductive hearing loss may develop after birth.
  • Mixed hearing loss combines the first two types – sensorineural and conductive.

Screening babies born in hospitals for hearing loss is a responsibility of pediatric care, which should be done within the first month of birth. 

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