Common causes of hearing loss in children

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There are several complex diseases that can lead to hearing loss.
There are several complex diseases that can lead to hearing loss.

These are the most common causes of hearing loss in children:

- In most cases permanent deafness is hereditary. A third of people who are deaf for genetic reasons were born deaf, a third become deaf during childhood and the other third become deaf as adults. Permanent hearing loss among children is the most common congenital disability - in developing countries this is up to five in every 1 000 babies.

- Inflammation of the middle ear (tympanitis) is the most common cause of a type of deafness known as conductive deafness. Regular ear infections can cause permanent hearing loss among children.

- German measles during pregnancy can cause permanent deafness. If a pregnant woman contracts German measles during the first eight weeks of pregnancy there is an 86 per cent chance her baby will be deaf.

- Other problems during pregnancy that can also result in deafness in the unborn baby include infection with the cytomegalo virus, Rhesus-irreconcilable blood between mother and baby, thyroid problems and diabetes in the mother.

- Permanent deafness can result if the baby suffers from a lack of oxygen during birth or has to be connected to a respirator for more than five days.

- Another risk factor is if the baby weighs less than 1,5 kg at birth.

- Injuries during birth (especially head injuries) and jaundice in babies can also be a cause.

- So can viral and bacterial infections such as meningitis in babies and toddlers.

- Certain medicines such as some antibiotics and TB drugs can also cause deafness.

(This is an extract of an article that originally appeared in YOU Pulse / Huisgenoot-POLS magazine, September 2007. Buy the latest copy, on newsstands now, for more fascinating stories from the world of health and wellness.)

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