The types of hearing loss in children majorly differ by age. It is crucial to differentiate between congenital hearing loss (present at birth), and acquired hearing loss (developed after birth). Let us get an in-depth idea of both categories:
Congenital Hearing Loss in Children:
- Genetic Factors: Genetic factors are associated with a considerable percentage of cases of congenital hearing loss. When one or both parents have a gene for hearing loss, they can be inherited and passed down. Hearing loss caused by genetics can be classified as either syndromic—linked to other medical conditions—or non-syndromic—affecting just hearing.
- Infections During Pregnancy: When a pregnant woman is infected with infections such as toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus (CMV), or rubella (German measles). The result can be congenital hearing loss.
- Premature Birth: Low birth weight and premature delivery are two causes of hearing loss risk factors. Because their auditory systems are still developing, premature babies are more susceptible to hearing impairment.
- Anoxia or Birth Complications: Hearing impairment can arise from oxygen deprivation during labor. Which frequently happens as a result of delivery-related issues.
- Ototoxic Medications: Pregnancy can cause ototoxicity, or damage to the developing auditory system, from some drugs, such as diuretics or aminoglycoside antibiotics.
Acquired Hearing Loss (developed after birth):
- Ear Infections: Recurrent or chronic ear infections, especially in the middle of the ear, might lead to conductive hearing loss in children. Fluid buildup and impairment to the middle ear structures might impact a child’s hearing.
- Noise Exposure: Extended exposure to high decibel levels, resulting from leisure pursuits like loud music listening or external factors like heavy machinery, can lead to noise-induced hearing impairment.
- Head Trauma: Hearing loss may result from serious head injuries that harm the auditory system.
- Infections: When infections in children progress to the inner ear, such as meningitis or severe flu instances, sensorineural hearing loss may ensue.
- Medications: There are some drugs that can be ototoxic to a child’s hearing if they are taken in large quantities or for a long time. A few antibiotics and chemotherapeutic treatments can be among these prescriptions.
- Chronic Illnesses: Children’s hearing loss can result from conditions like diabetes, which can impair nerve activity and blood circulation.
- Malformation of the Ear: There are certain infants who have structural ear defects that impair hearing from birth.
The management of childhood hearing loss depends heavily on early detection and intervention. In many nations, newborn hearing screening programmes are now considered standard practice. Making it possible to identify congenital hearing loss early on. Parents and other carers should be on the lookout for symptoms of acquired hearing loss, such as delays in speech and language. A predilection for louder television or music, or behavioural changes in a child during communication.
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