What causes hearing loss in Newborns?

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  • 3 years ago
Dr. Raman Abrol
ENT Specialist / otorhinolaryngology

What causes hearing loss in Newborns?

Today we will talk about hearing screening, especially in newborn babies. As we all know, children with hearing loss are not able to develop speech. And this causes deafness and dumbness in children. These children are called special needs children. 

Can we know that the newborn is going to have hearing problems beforehand? 

The intelligent mothers at the very beginning after birth come to know that the baby is not paying attention to sound. Therefore, when you clap or make a sound near the baby, the baby is startled. This means that the baby does not have a hearing problem. 

There are special children, especially those whose delivery was complicated or those with complex pregnancies. The newborn babies get jaundice. Some of the newborn babies are kept in the ICU and are given antibiotics. Here all these conditions are in infants, i.e., babies who are only a few months old. These babies are at high risk of getting hearing problems. Not only this, but these babies are at increased risk of getting eye problems and mental retardation. 

Newborn Hearing Test

A hearing screening is done in children that are at high risk. There is a machine called (name) for this. Otoacoustic emissions detection is a readily available machine. If there is a wave formation, then this means that the baby’s hearing is active and normal. This can be done at the same hospital where the baby is born, and a pediatrician can prescribe the test. 

Other than this, a BERA test can be done as well. This is also a special hearing detection method in which the child’s cooperation is not required. The baby is put to sleep, and there are electrodes fixed to his head to pick the electrical pulses. And that is how it is detected whether the hearing is normal or not. 

Why is it important? 

This is important because if the baby grows up with hearing problems, the mother can detect them. The baby does not get startled. He does not pay attention to sounds or noises in the background; this is how the mother or the family member knows that the baby might have hearing issues. So these newborns should undergo examination, detection. BERA or Otoacoustic could be done so that it can be treated accordingly.

It is very important to know that if the sound impulse does not reach the brain before the baby is 2 or 3 years old, it may not develop speech. You must’ve seen that the children who are deaf are often unable to speak. This is because the speaking centers in the brain sound to stimulate them. And the sound would only reach them if the hearing is normal. 

Treatment for Newborn Hearing

These children can start wearing hearing aids from a young age. Or they can get a cochlear implant. This machine is fixed by surgery. This can give the stimulus of hearing for the child. 

If all this is missed, the child is 6 or 10 years old. Then it becomes very difficult for the child to develop speech. And the child will lead his life ahead as a handicapped. 

All this can be prevented by timely detection, during birth, or immediately after birth. Thank you.

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