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Hearing Loss in Kids

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Hearing is important for children to develop speech and language skills as they grow. In the past, hearing loss in children often went undetected until the child was around two years old, when it became obvious that the child wasn’t talking yet. Children learn communication by copy the sounds they hear. If they have a hearing loss that is undetected and untreated, they can miss much of the speech and language around them. This results in delayed speech development, social problems and academic difficulties. Hearing loss, in varying degrees, affects two children in every 100 children under the age of Eighteen. Unfortunately, there are very few hearing losses that cannot be helped with modern technology.

Types of Children Hearing Loss

Hearing loss in children can be present at birth (congenital) or acquired after birth. The two primary types of hearing loss are:

  • Sensorineural hearing loss – This type of hearing loss is related to damage or a defect in the inner ear or in the neural connection to the brain. Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by congenital factors or can occur after birth.
  • Conductive hearing loss – A reduction of sound being sent to the inner ear caused by a problem in the outer or middle ear. Conductive hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss in children and is usually acquired. In a minority of cases, this type of hearing loss is congenital.

Hearing loss can also be a mix of both of these types, affecting both the inner ear and outer/middle ear.

Congenital hearing loss

Congenital hearing loss means it was present in an infant at birth. There are various causes of congenital hearing loss, though they are not always easily identified. There are both non-genetic and genetic factors that might cause hearing loss.

Non-genetic factors that might cause congenital hearing loss include:

  • Birth complications, including the presence of herpes, rubella cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis or another serious infection, lack of oxygen or the requirement of a blood transfusion for some reason.
  • Premature birth. Babies that have a birth weight of less than 3 pounds or that require certain life-sustaining drugs for respiration due to prematurity are at risk for hearing loss.A nervous system or brain disorder.
  • The use of ototoxic medication by the mother during pregnancy. Ototoxic medications are not usually illicit substances – medications like various antibiotics and NSAIDS can potentially cause damage to the auditory nerve or other hearing structures of the fetus.
  • The mother had an infection during pregnancy, including things like toxoplasmosis, cytomegolavirus, herpes simplex or German measles.
  • Maternal diabetes.
  • Drug or alcohol abuse by the mother or smoking during pregnancy.

Acquired hearing loss

Children can also be affected by acquired hearing loss, meaning it occurs after birth. There are various causes of acquired hearing loss, including:

    A perforated eardrum

    Otosclerosis or Meniere’s diseases, which are progressive

    Infections like meningitis, measles, mumps or whooping cough

    Taking ototoxic medications

    A serious head injury

    Exposure to loud noise, causing noise-induced hearing loss

    Untreated or frequent otitis media (ear infections)

    Exposure to secondhand smoke

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GradesFixer. (2019, January, 03) Hearing Loss in Kids. Retrived August 19, 2019, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/hearing-loss-in-kids/
"Hearing Loss in Kids." GradesFixer, 03 Jan. 2019, https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/hearing-loss-in-kids/. Accessed 19 August 2019.
GradesFixer. 2019. Hearing Loss in Kids., viewed 19 August 2019, <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/hearing-loss-in-kids/>
GradesFixer. Hearing Loss in Kids. [Internet]. January 2019. [Accessed August 19, 2019]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/hearing-loss-in-kids/
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