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Hearing Loss in Babies

Hearing Loss in Babies

Picture of a hospital nursery

Although most babies can hear normally, 1 to 3 out of every 1000 babies are born with some degree of hearing loss.  However, without screening or testing, hearing loss may not be noticed until the baby is more than one year old. If hearing loss is not detected until later years, there will not be stimulation of the brain's hearing centers. This can affect the maturation and development of hearing, and can delay speech and language. Social and emotional development and success in school may also be affected. Many of the complications of hearing loss can be prevented with diagnosis and treatment before 6 months of age.

Most hearing loss is congenital (present at birth), but some babies develop hearing loss after they are born. Hearing loss is more likely in premature babies and babies with respiratory problems who have required long-term use of breathing machines, those with previous infections, and those taking certain medications.

Because of these risks, many health organizations, including the National Institutes of Health, the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Audiology, now recommend universal infant hearing screening. This means all newborn babies should be screened for hearing loss. Most often, the parents are the first to detect hearing loss in their child.

Reviewed Date: 07-29-2014

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Health Tips
Earlier is Better to Catch Hearing Loss
Hearing Quiz
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Anatomy of the Newborn Skull
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The Growing Child: Newborn
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Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.