Your Baby's Hearing

Causes of Hearing Loss

Some newborn hearing impairment is genetic. But a baby can be born with hearing loss even if there's no obvious family history. For example, both parents may carry a recessive gene for deafness, causing the child to inherit the trait. Other causes of congenital hearing loss are low birth weight (a baby born weighing under 3.3 pounds) and a mother's infection with certain viruses, such as rubella or cytomegalovirus (CMV) during pregnancy.

After birth, chronic and untreated ear infections can cause damage to a baby's ears, ranging from rupturing of the eardrum to, in rare cases, permanent hearing loss. The temporary hearing loss that often comes with an ear infection, due to fluid blocking the middle ear, can also be problematic if your baby is getting one infection after another. The recurrent hearing impairment can interfere with a baby's language development. After your baby is treated with antibiotics, make sure to schedule a follow-up visit so the doctor can check that your baby's ears are indeed clear.

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