What You Need to Know About Hearing Loss in Children

What You Need to Know About Hearing Loss in Children

January 27, 2020

The ability to hear is important for early childhood development, as hearing ability is necessary to properly develop speech and language skills. Years ago, it was not unusual for hearing loss in children to go undetected. A child might reach two years of age and not yet be talking, at which point a doctor would test the child’s hearing and possibly find some degree of hearing deficiency.

Today, we know the importance of treating hearing loss in kids as early as possible. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the most common causes and signs of hearing loss in children in Fairbanks, AK.

Top causes of childhood hearing loss

Hearing loss in children can occur at birth (congenital) or after birth (acquired). A child may have conductive, sensorineural or mixed hearing loss, so it’s imperative that parents, caretakers and doctors know the signs to look for. Left untreated, early childhood hearing loss can cause significant developmental and/or emotional problems for kids with hearing issues.

Genetic factors

When a child is born with hearing loss, this is called congenital hearing loss. Here are some genetic factors that might cause hearing loss:

  • Autosomal recessive hearing loss is the most common type of genetic congenital hearing loss. It accounts for about 70 percent of all genetic hearing loss causes, even though neither parent has a hearing issue in this situation. It happens because each parent carries, and passes down, a recessive gene.
  • Autosomal dominant hearing loss accounts for around 15 percent of genetic hearing loss. In cases like these, one parent carrying the dominant gene passes it down. This parent may or may not have hearing loss.
  • Genetic syndromes that might involve hearing loss include Usher, Waardenburg, Treacher Collins, Crouzon, Alport and Down syndromes.

Non-genetic factors

There are also some non-genetic factors that might cause congenital hearing loss—including birth complications, herpes, a lack of oxygen at birth, rubella cytomegalovirus and others. Premature birth is also a known cause of hearing loss, as is being born with a brain or nervous system disorder. Certain infections during pregnancy are known causes of hearing loss in babies, as is the mother using drugs, abusing alcohol or smoking during her pregnancy.

Later hearing loss

A child can also have acquired hearing loss, which can happen any time after birth. Causes include perforated eardrums, a serious head injury, exposure to secondhand smoke, exposure to loud noises, certain infections, certain medications and more.


Some children are diagnosed with hearing loss at birth. Hearing loss at any point after birth can be identified by some early warning signs, such as having no reaction to loud noises, not responding to voices and making simple sounds that taper off. Also, a child with later hearing loss may pull or rub at their ears, appear to stop paying attention, have little energy or seem constantly agitated for no obvious reason.

Noticing the signs of hearing loss in children in Fairbanks, AK is not always easy. If your child needs hearing aids or you’re interested in having their hearing tested, call Northland Hearing Services, Inc. today.

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