One of the first questions parents ask when their child is diagnosed with a hearing loss is "Why?" Mothers often join our online group and are worried that they did something before or during their pregnancy to cause their child's hearing loss. But rest assured, this is extremely unlikely. Hearing loss can either be congenital or acquired. 'Congenital' means that the hearing loss was present at the time of birth, or occurred very soon after birth. An acquired hearing loss occurs after birth perhaps as a result of disease or injury. The terminology about causes of hearing loss can be rather confronting but, in reality, knowing the cause doesn't usually change how the hearing loss will be managed.
About 1 in 1,000 babies are born with some degree of hearing loss. Congenital hearing loss may be due to either genetic factors or factors what occurred before, during or just after the baby was born.
Children can develop a hearing loss anytime after birth. This can be due to an illness such as meningitis, medications, recurrent severe ear infections or injury. One of the most common causes of acquired hearing loss in our online group is cholesteatoma.
Many medical tests can be carried out to try and find the cause of your child's hearing loss. A cause is not found in over 50% of children investigated but it can be helpful to families to know what didn't cause the hearing loss, e.g. you may find the cause isn't genetic.
Families with a child with UHL are not always offered a full aetiological investigation, i.e. investigation of the cause of the hearing loss. Speak to your GP or ENT and let them know if you want to investigate the cause more fully. Tests you may request include blood and urine tests, imaging such as an MRI scan, genetic counselling and genetic testing.
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09-Dec-2015 5:48 PM (AEST)