What are the risk conditions for hearing loss in children?

Hearing loss can happen any time during life, from before birth to adulthood.

The following are some of the things that can increase the chance that a child will have hearing loss:

  • There is a family history of childhood hearing loss, and 50 to 60 percent of hearing loss in babies is due to genetic causes. So some babies with hearing loss might have family members who also have a hearing loss. About 30 percent of babies with genetic hearing loss have a “syndrome.” This means they have other conditions in addition to the hearing loss, such as Down syndrome or Usher syndrome.
  • 25% or more of hearing loss in babies is due to maternal infections during pregnancy, complications after birth, and head trauma. For example, the child:
    • Was exposed to infection, such as cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection, before birth
    • Spent 5 days or more in a hospital neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or had complications while in the NICU
    • Needed a special procedure like a blood transfusion to treat bad jaundice
    • Has head, face or ears shaped or formed in a different way than usual
    • Has a condition like a neurological disorder that may be associated with hearing loss
    • Had an infection around the brain and spinal cord called meningitis
    • Received a bad injury to the head that required a hospital stay

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.