Parents of children, who are diagnosed with hearing loss, are often astonished by the diagnosis wondering how their child is suffering from hearing impairment at this age. Like most of the people, they also think that hearing loss occurs in old age. However, in reality, hearing loss can occur at any age.

The causes of hearing loss vary from person to person; however, these are the top three leading causes of hearing loss in children:

  1. Illness or injury
  2. Birth defect
  3. Otitis media

1. Illness or Injury

A lot of times, children born with normal hearing may suffer from hearing problems later in life. This could be due to an illness or injury the child may have suffered from. Some infections may get severe and affect hearing too. These infections include:

  • Meningitis
  • Syphilis
  • Measles 
  • Mumps
  • Chicken pox
  • Flu
  • Encephalitis

Moreover, children can get injured as well, which could be a cause of the hearing problem. Since the ear structure is delicate, it can get affected easily. Traumas such as head injuries or exposure to loud noises such as fireworks can cause the child to suffer from hearing loss as well.

However, some medications taken during other types of injuries or infections may have hearing loss as its side effect. These drugs, such as aminoglycoside antibiotics, diuretics and cisplatin, are called ototoxic. Therefore, before giving your child any drug for any illness or injury, always consult a doctor.

2. Birth Defect

Genetics accounts for almost 50 percent of the cases with babies born with a hearing defect. The genetic defect is due to a formation of mutation in the genes that hinders the ears to function properly. Here are the two types of genetic hearing loss:

  1. Syndromic hearing loss
  2. Non-syndromic hearing loss

Of all the different types of hearing loss caused by genetics, syndromic hearing loss accounts for 30% of it. Syndromic hearing loss refers to hearing loss that is accompanied by other health problems such as kidney, thyroid, heart and vision problems.

The remaining 70 percent of genetic hearing loss cases are caused by non-syndromic reasons, whereby hearing loss is a standalone problem.

The other 50 percent of the cases are caused by different factors such as complications during pregnancy or birth. Mothers may suffer from infections and diseases such as viruses (herpes, rubella), syphilis and toxoplasmosis (consumption of contaminated food or water). Along with this, consumption of alcohol and medications, which contain ototoxins, can also lead to hearing loss.

3. Otitis Media

One of the leading causes of hearing loss in children is Otitis media. Otitis media leads to inflammation of the middle ear. The inflammation is caused due to infected liquid and the liquid hinders the three tiny bones in the middle ear to function properly, leading to decrease in hearing.

Shockingly, Otitis media is a common problem in children under the age of three. Most of the children have it once before their third birthday and only temporarily. However, children who suffer from Otitis media regularly develop hearing impairment.

Therefore, parents need to monitor their children for signs of hearing loss and get them checked by an audiologist if they feel any abnormality exists.