A child’s hearing health is crucial to their speech, language, emotional, behavioural and educational development. 

Causes of hearing loss in children and youth 

Hearing loss in children can be congenital or acquired. 

Congenital hearing loss occurs at birth. Acquired hearing loss occurs after birth.

There are many factors that can contribute to hearing loss in your child.

Congenital hearing loss can be caused by…

  • Genetic factors
  • Infections during pregnancy, like rubella
  • Maternal diabetes
  • Premature birth
  • Lack of oxygen during birth
  • Injury during birth
  • Other health issues

Acquired hearing loss can be caused by…

  • Frequent ear infections
  • Viral and bacterial infections, including meningitis or measles
  • Head injuries
  • Encephalitis
  • Ototoxic drugs, which may cause damage to the auditory system
  • Noise-Induced Hearing Loss or NIHL

Fast Facts about hearing loss and your child

Six in every 1000 babies are born with hearing loss in Canada. In many provinces in Canada, including Ontario, early detection begins with newborn hearing screening programs. 

According to Statistics Canada, about 83% of children and youth between the ages of six and 18 aren’t aware that they have hearing problems. 

As a global standard, the standard best practice is to screen a baby’s hearing at birth and begin any necessary intervention by the time the infant is six months.

Without early newborn screening, the age of identification for hearing loss has been between the ages of two-and-a-half and three-years-old. At this point, it can already be difficult for children to keep up with communication and social skills. 

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), nearly 50% of teenagers and young adults between the ages of 12 and 35 years-old are exposed to unsafe sound levels. Roughly 40% are exposed to potentially damaging levels of sound.

► Read about 10 hearing aid tips for children ►