What are common reasons for hearing difficulties in children?
Some causes of the hearing loss in children are described below:
How common is a hearing loss in children?
Why is it important to detect hearing loss as early as possible?
Types of paediatric hearing loss
What is a conductive hearing loss?
What is a sensorineural hearing loss?
Possible causes of congenital hearing loss
- Infections during pregnancy (German measles, toxoplasmosis and cytomegalovirus)
- Ototoxic medication used during pregnancy
- Birth complications (serious infection present at birth, such as toxoplasmosis, herpes, rubella or cytomegalovirus; birth weight less than 3 lbs; unusual appearance of baby’s head, face or ears; baby required blood transfusion; or drugs used for respiratory life-sustaining measures on premature infant)
- Disorder of the brain or nervous system
- Genetic syndromes, such as Ushers, Down’s and Waardenburg’s syndromes
- Family history of hearing loss
- Possible causes of acquired hearing loss
- Untreated middle ear infections
- Other infections, such as meningitis, mumps, measles or a whooping cough
- Perforation of the eardrum
- Excessive noise, such as fireworks or loud music
- Serious injury to the head
- Ototoxic medication
What is a sensorineural hearing loss?
What is glue ear?
Are babies screened for hearing loss at birth?
How will I know if my preschool and older child has a hearing difficulty?
It is important to observe your child for any signs of potential hearing loss.
Does your child:
- Turn up the volume of the TV excessively loud?
- Respond inappropriately to questions?
- Not reply when you call him/her?
- Watch others imitate what they are doing?
- Have articulation problems or speech/language delays?
- Have problems academically?
- Complain of earaches, ear pain or head noises?
- Have difficulty understanding what people are saying?
- Seem to speak differently from other children his or her age?
While these signs don’t necessarily mean that your child has a hearing problem, they could be indicators of one. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, or if you suspect your child may have difficulty hearing, an appointment should be with your GP who will investigate further and refer you to an audiologist (hearing expert) or ENT (Ear Nose and Throat) consultant, if necessary.
What causes hearing loss in adults?
Hearing loss in adults can either be inherited from your parents or acquired from illness, ototoxic (ear-damaging) drugs, exposure to loud noise, tumours, head injury, or the ageing process. This loss may occur by itself or with tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Some causes of the hearing loss in adults are described below:
The ringing noise people experience in their ears after going to a concert or listening to loud music can be described as tinnitus.
In some cases, tinnitus is only temporary and goes away given time. Yet for others, the ringing noise is constant and interferes with their ability to concentrate or hear actual sound. The majority of us will experience tinnitus at some point. It is not usually the presence of the tinnitus that is an issue, but rather how an individual thinks and feels about it. When tinnitus becomes problematic, sufferers often associate it with feelings of fear and anxiety leading to stress and frustration.
Tinnitus can be caused by several factors, such as age-related hearing loss, exposure to loud noise or earwax blockage.
Tinnitus can cause anxiety and stress responses in the body, through the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system controls involuntary processes in the body such as heart rate, breathing and blood distribution. Around 1-2% of people with tinnitus are bothered so much that sleep, relaxation and concentration are affected.
Other helpful tips:
Avoid silence. Keeping your ears busy with background noise, such as the television or radio, can help your brain focus on those sounds instead of the ringing noise.
Keep calm and relaxed. Tinnitus can be triggered by stress and tiredness, so relaxing activities like a massage or yoga can offer relief.
Check your medications. Some medications can cause or worsen tinnitus, so it’s essential to tell your family doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms. Take special care with medications for arthritis, anti-depressants, rheumatic diseases and some antibiotics.
Limit your caffeine. Consuming caffeine can temporarily worsen tinnitus for some people.
So, what next?
The first step is to identify what is causing tinnitus and, if necessary, take a hearing test.
You can ask about our popular tinnitus relief Sound Oasis Therapy System that has been clinically proven to help diminish tinnitus discomfort to create a relaxing atmosphere to help you fall asleep.
Autoimmune inner ear disease
Ototoxic medications can cause hearing loss. Some drugs known to be ototoxic are:
Aminoglycoside antibiotics (such as streptomycin, neomycin, or kanamycin)
Salicylates in large quantities (aspirin)
Loop diuretics (lasix or ethacrynic acid)
Drugs used in chemotherapy regimens (cisplatin, carboplatin, or nitrogen mustard)
Very loud noise
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