Children and Hearing Loss - A guide to Hearing Loss

Ear problems are very common in children. The main ear problem is an ear infection which causes temporary hearing loss although this disappears once the infection has been treated.

But there are some children who are born without any hearing at all (profound deafness) which can be for a variety of reasons. These include:

  • Premature birth
  • Rubella (contracted by the mother during her pregnancy)
  • Genetic conditions
  • Congenital disorder

Premature birth

Premature babies are subject to a number of problems which is due to their low birth weight. A slightly premature baby will have no or few problems but a severely premature baby is a greater risk of long term problems.

The more premature a baby is the greater the long term health problems. Although some babies grow up and become normal, functioning adults without any problems what so ever.

One such problem is that of hearing impairment or deafness. If a premature baby fails to get enough oxygen at birth then this causes hearing loss. This tends to affect babies with a very low birth weight.


If a mother contracts Rubella (German measles) during the first stage of her pregnancy then there is the risk of birth defects, which include hearing loss, to the unborn child. Rubella affects around 90% of newborns and affects their hearts, brains, sight and hearing.

The risks are greater early on in the pregnancy than at a later stage.

Genetic conditions

There are types of hearing loss which are down to genetics. This can cause hearing loss from birth or for it to develop from a very early age. Examples of these include:

  • Usher’s syndrome: a genetic disorder which causes vision and hearing loss. This can occur from birth or develop gradually over time.
  • Waardenburg syndrome: a rare condition that causes hearing loss that ranges from relatively mild through to profound deafness.
  • Pendred syndrome: another rare condition in which hearing is impaired from birth. This prevents the child from learning to speak and worsens throughout their childhood.
  • Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndrome: this is another rare condition which causes irregular heartbeat and hearing loss.
  • Treacher-Collins syndrome: a very rare disorder in which the bones of the bone are undeveloped leading to breathing problems and hearing loss.
  • Crouzon syndrome: a condition characterised by a distortion of the skull which includes obstructed airways and a blocked ear canal, causing permanent hearing loss.

Congenital Disorder

Hearing loss may be present from birth as a result of a congenital disorder such as a genetic condition, rubella, premature birth, lack of oxygen and toxins ingested by the mother during pregnancy (e.g. smoking).

These cause variations in sensorineural hearing loss; from mild through to severe hearing loss.

Hearing loss in children can be caused an ear condition such as ‘glue ear’; a medical condition such as meningitis or the insertion of a foreign body within the ear.

Hearing problems can be detected via a hearing test and there are tests which are specifically designed for babies and young children. If your child has been diagnosed with a form of hearing loss then what treatment is available to deal with this? Hearing aids are one option as is a cochlear implant.

Our treatment for hearing loss in children

Hearing Loss in Children : A guide to Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss

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