Just imagine how difficult it would be to learn that your child has congenital hearing loss, or hearing loss present at birth. You know that as your child grows up, they are going to be faced with many hurdles in their development, primarily with their speech and language skills.
In the past, hearing loss in children wasn’t detected until the little one was about two years old because parents would become alarmed when their child hasn’t begun talking yet.
Today, we are going to give you important information about congenital deafness, so you’ll be able to recognize the signs way before your little one turns 2 years old.
Did you know approximately 1 in 1,000 newborns are born with hearing loss in some degree, or developed it shortly after birth? If the hearing loss was acquired after birth, it may have been a result of an illness or injury – but we’ll talk more about that later.
For children who were born with congenital deafness (about 50% of patients), there are a few genetic factors that are passed down from one or both parents.
Children who have genetic congenital deafness may experience a worsening of the condition, or it could stay stable as they get older.
Other than genetics, 25% of children are diagnosed with hearing loss present at birth due to non-genetic causes. These causes include:
Of the remaining 25% of children, the cause of their hearing loss is unknown, and their deafness is labeled because of idiopathic causes.
Much like hearing loss in adults, children deafness and hearing loss can happen over time. There are various causes for this type of hearing loss, which include:
After giving birth, many hospitals will perform hearing tests shortly after the baby has been delivered. These tests allow for early intervention if the newborn shows signs of hearing loss. If your child wasn’t tested, you should set up an appointment for an infant screening right away.
Even in between screenings, you should pay attention to how your child behaves and reacts to sound. Your baby should:
Should your child be tested for congenital hearing loss or acquired hearing loss, don’t lose hope because there are some treatment options. Depending on how severe the hearing loss is, some children can be fitted with hearing aids or cochlear implants and work with a speech therapist.
Of course, it’s always wise to see an audiologist who specializes in working with very young children. There are a few objective tests that your child can go through that are non-invasive and pain-free. Once the exam is over, the audiologist will chat with you and let you know the results of the testing and recommend possible treatment options.
Learning that your child has congenital deafness is a hard pill to swallow, but it’s important to know that it isn’t the end of the world. Regardless of how your child got this way, be it from genetics or not, there are treatment options that’ll help your little one re-gain some of their hearing.
We’d love it if you left us a comment and shared your experience with hearing loss, whether you were born with congenital deafness, you had a child with hearing loss present at birth, or if you know a friend who has had a cochlear implant. We’d love to hear from you!