Children can be born with hearing problems or develop them later on.
In newborns, genetic defects are the most common cause of hearing problems
In children with previous good hearing, the most common causes are ear infections and wax build-up
Infants with hearing loss don't respond to sounds
Older children may have trouble learning to talk
Doctors routinely check the hearing of newborns
Doctors treat the cause of hearing loss
If the cause of hearing loss can't be treated, your child may need a hearing aid or surgery for a cochlear implant
The common causes of hearing loss depend on the child's age.
In newborns, the most common cause is:
In babies and children, the most common causes are:
Ear infections with fluid in the ear
A build up of earwax
In older children, other causes include:
A newborn baby's hearing is tested in the hospital before going home.
If that device suggests a hearing problem, doctors do more complicated tests that:
For older children who can answer questions, doctors can do standard hearing tests.
If the tests show a hearing problem, doctors do additional tests to figure out what’s causing the hearing loss. They also check how well your child's language skills are developing.
Doctors will treat the cause of the hearing loss, if possible. For example, your child's doctor may:
If the cause of your child’s hearing loss can't be fixed, doctors may suggest:
Hearing aids are available even for babies and young children.
A cochlear implant is a device that uses electrical signals to help with hearing. It is implanted surgically.