Deafness and Children - A guide to Hearing Loss

A child can be deaf from birth or become deaf from an early age but whatever the reason, can still live a normal and productive life.

There are several causes of deafness in children and these either occur before the child is born or in the first years of life.

Causes of deafness

These can occur whilst the baby is in the mother’s womb and include:
  • Genetic disorders such as Usher’s syndrome and Crouzon syndrome.
  • Hereditary: gene for deafness can be passed down through the family.
  • Rubella: if the mother contracts rubella in the early part of her pregnancy then this can be harmful to the baby. It can cause brain damage, cataracts and deafness.
  • Cytomegalovirus: a common herpes-type virus which can develop during pregnancy and pass through the placenta, damaging the baby. This can lead to congenital deafness.
  • Toxoplasmosis: an infection which is caused by a parasite in raw meat which is especially problematic during pregnancy as it can affect the unborn baby. It can lead to epilepsy, brain damage, water on the brain and deafness.
  • Ototoxic drugs: these are drugs which are used to treat a range of conditions but can cause hearing loss and balance problems. Examples include cancer drugs and antibiotics.
Deafness which occurs after the birth or in the early years includes:
  • Premature birth: a premature baby can be subject to a series of problems, some of which are long term and include hearing loss.
  • Lack of oxygen at birth
  • Meningitis
  • Mumps and measles
  • Head injury

Deafness is one of those terms which can be open to interpretation. Not everyone is comfortable with the word ‘deaf’and may prefer to use an alternative such as ‘hearing loss’, ‘hearing impaired’ or ‘hard of hearing’.Hearing loss or deafness can be seen in terms of a spectrum which range from mild loss through to profound (total) deafness.Your child may have been born with the ability to hear but for whatever reason starts to lose their hearing at an early stage in their life. One possible reason is Usher’s syndrome.Or they may be what are known as ‘deafblind’ in that they have both vision and hearing loss. The main issues here are helping your child to adapt to their deafness and making the best use of what help, information and aids are available to them. These include hearing aids, special needs assessments, lip-reading and assistive technology.Find out more in our treatment for hearing loss in children

Hearing Loss in Children : A guide to Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss

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