What Are Common Causes of Pediatric Hearing Loss?

You may be surprised to learn that one in five children has some degree of hearing loss by the time they are 18 years old.

As is the case with adults, hearing loss in children can range from mild to profound and have numerous different causes.

Can Pediatric Hearing Loss Be Temporary? Young boy being fitted with hearing aids by an audiologist.

Children can experience temporary hearing loss, which will resolve itself once the condition responsible for hearing issues is treated. Some common causes of temporary hearing loss include:

  • Most children experience an ear infection at some point in their life, particularly in their early years. They occur when fluid accumulates in the middle ear. This fluid buildup can cause temporary hearing loss. Additional signs of a middle ear infection include earache, fever, fluid draining from the ear, tugging at the ear or an increase in fussiness. Once the infection clears, either on its own or with antibiotics, your child’s hearing should return to normal.
  • Sometimes temporary hearing loss can occur due to excess earwax blocking sound from entering their ear canal. If you suspect earwax blockage, do not try to remove it yourself with a cotton swab as that could push wax further into your child’s ear. Rather schedule an appointment with an ENT for safe removal.

Causes of Permanent Hearing Loss in Children

When permanent loss in children occurs, the most common cause is genetics. Some gene mutations that cause hearing loss run in families, while others do not. It’s also possible that certain genetic syndromes (such as Turner syndrome) increase a child’s likelihood of developing hearing loss as they get older.

Other causes of permanent pediatric hearing loss include:

  • Certain illnesses
  • Premature birth
  • Ear malformations
  • Head trauma
  • Some medications
  • Noise exposure

Identifying and Treating Your Child’s Hearing Loss

While many cases of pediatric hearing loss are discovered in newborns, symptoms can develop later in childhood as well. Signs your infant or child may have problems with their hearing can include:

  • Not reacting to the sound of your voice
  • Being slower to babble or speak their first words
  • Trouble locating sound
  • Not startling at loud noise when somewhere noisy like Jungle Jaks
  • Speech and language delays in school

If your child has any of these symptoms or other behavior that has you concerned about their hearing, schedule an appointment for a hearing test. Diagnosing and treating hearing loss with pediatric hearing aids or cochlear implants early makes it less likely your child will experience developmental delays.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, call Tinnitus & Hearing Experts today.